Tag Archives: Challenges

Thinking about thinking

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For more forced perspective photos, click on the picture

For more forced perspective photos, click on the picture

This is a very cerebral post, so I will try to keep it short.

As a person who thinks a lot, I think lots of possibilities. I have ideas upon ideas and they pass through my mind quite fleetingly. This is happening to me all the time.  I think the goal, the steps, required materials, possible problems, possible outcomes, all in one foul swoop. I can break ideas down, but when I am thinking in general without concentrating on disciplining my thinking, I see it all at the same time. So generally, ideas come and go quickly because they have been attended to and are usually dismissed, because, well I can see a lot of possible problems before I start and my mind has moved on to the next idea.

Because of the way I think, I also see a lot of complexity in the world.  I can think of lots of bits and pieces that make up whole actions, so anything that I do not know how to do I see as difficult. I appreciate how demanding everyone’s jobs are. I empathise with people’s different life situations. If you give me a problem I can give you many explanations why that happened.  I can also justify anything because I see how different things are linked. As a teacher, I can create activities that are engaging, educational and manageable all at the same time, and often quite quickly off the top of my head. I can envisage change and how that may or may not succeed.  Of course, the actual result may not be the same, but in my mind I can think of the big picture. I actually do not like the tedious details, they weigh down on me as there are too many, and I see them all at the same time. I enjoy the ideas phase of a project and teasing out the plan of action. The actual doing is not so inspiring to me, so it is very hard to find hobbies that I enjoy from beginning to end.

Reflecting on this perspective that my mind naturally takes, I feel like I am being tricked. I feel like I am being tricked into thinking too much and almost sabotaging my action on difficult ideas that might be worth doing.

Is it not true, that doing would be a lot easier than my mind thinks it would?

I wonder why I have this thinking pattern, and is it good or bad?

Does this type of fast thinking hinder creativity or is it how creativity works in my mind?

Is my mind allowing me to see a lot of ideas and be selective on what I choose to do, or is it making me eliminate possibilities before I have even tried?

I do a lot of things but I always feel I could do more. I want to know how other people’s minds think and how they manage their idea processing. I also want to know whether processing too much thinking has played a part in exhausting my body to the point it is now chronically unwell.

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Single and sick

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Retro dating

If you are chronically ill, you try to avoid putting the negative effects of your illnesses on anyone, including partners, families, work colleagues, friends and strangers. As a single person then, it is difficult to take the plunge to try to meet new people. Who would want to be with me and my illnesses? How could I inflict this life on someone? Dating is also so emotionally taxing and exhausting. The other day I said that I think I can’t be bothered. My son told me I need a different perspective to the situation. I guess I do but it might take someone to educate me to see it differently.

There was a time when I was married to a very generous, supportive man. I know he would stand by me no matter what. I failed that relationship, not him.

Then I was in a relationship with a man who is bipolar, narcissistic and unable to show empathy unless he is trying to get something out of you. He failed me and left me three weeks after my diagnosis with fibromyalgia.

Right now I am flaring, sick, dealing with new medication and all round mentally exhausted. I am not as active as I want to be and would be poor company most days. I am also 41 and becoming very comfortable running my own life solo.

I am starting to consider the possibility of finding a new mate incomprehensible.

How can someone who is so frequently sick and no doubt very hard to coordinate time with (and put up with) find someone who will be supportive in this situation?

Surely the initial meeting someone and having early dates requires you to be at your best physically and mentally?

When should you tell a new person about your illnesses and your struggles?

How could you put the struggles you deal with daily into the life of another person?

How would you even find someone compatible at this stage of life?

These questions are not all unique to dating, or finding a partner. However, in the mind of someone who is chronically ill, the odds seemed to be stacked against you. You could have the most interesting, engaging personality most days, but one day you’ll be in pain, medicated up and foggy and you won’t be so attractive anymore. Then this will become more than just one or two days, when you have a flare and you can’t make it out of your bedroom. Suddenly you won’t be able to give anything of yourself but you will want your partner to somehow understand and support your random needs. No one would want this.

So, this is my perspective. Please tell me another way of seeing this situation of being single and sick. Maybe I need to hear success stories. Are there any?

Miracle Drug Day 23

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You just never know how sick you are until you start to feel better. Last night was terrible, this chest infection was trying to beat me down, my temperature was up and wouldn’t come down and I was aching from the coughing and from the fourth dose of miracle Drug which hits me like a truck.

It is frustrating that yet again I have to take days off work. I only have two and a half weeks to get through until holidays, but this last few weeks have been such a struggle. My body doesn’t care that I have so much I need to be at work for right now, as the end of the year races towards us.

I don’t know what to blame: flare, Miracle Drug, end of the year run downness, kids giving me illnesses, or all of the above. I have managed to stay away from most “regular” illnesses this year, but with Miracle Drug in my system I obviously can’t fight them off so well. I think Miracle Drug is helping my arthritis ever so slowly, but at the cost of getting sick (at the moment). My blood tests may shed light on this, but I really hope they just come out high ESR, I can’t deal with anything more complicated right now.

I need to get this all sorted by Christmas. Come the New Year I will be on my own on the other side of the world, trying to have an adventure. I can rest and I can pace myself, but I won’t have time for medication side effects or illnesses every few days due to no immunity.

Come on body, get this shit sorted out.

Isn't this pretty? This is what the cells in the immune system look like.

Isn’t this pretty? This is what the cells in the immune system look like… or should look like if it’s a healthy system. I’m guessing mine doesn’t look like this right now.

A Quick Coping with Chronic Illness Quiz

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A Quick Coping with Chronic Illness Quiz

Question 1.

You have had a busy week, worked hard and kept up with life’s requirements and responsibilities. It is Saturday and your family is all out for the day, you are home alone. Do you:

a) Sleep in bed all day and have a shower just before anyone comes home

b) Write a list of all the jobs you need to do around the home and get as many done as possible

c) Get dressed in your favourite jeans and top and head to the local shopping centre for a days shopping, coffee and the beginnings of painful feet

d) Spend the day reading, sipping cool drinks and enjoying the peace and quiet

Question 2.

You have your bags and you are heading home after a busy day at work. Your body is telling you to sit down and your feet are starting to shuffle. A co-worker sees you walking past and calls out in a panic for your help with a cut and paste disaster on a Word document. Do you:

a) Tell them they will work it out, otherwise to redo it, and keep walking

b) Tell them that they will have to find someone else, that you’re leaving

c) Go over and manually help fix the document

d) Tell them the name of someone else who is good at that sort of thing

Question 3.

Christmas Day is approaching and your family, who live in another state, has been asking about whether you will be flying to be with them on Christmas Day. You haven’t been well and you have a long holiday trip planned for after Christmas, which you haven’t really saved properly for. Do you:

a) Tell them you are coming and then find the cheapest flights available

b) Tell them that your health has been bad and that you need to rest before your trip

c) Tell them that it is just one day and that you will ring them, that will be sufficient

d) Invite them to come to your place instead, knowing that they will never do that

Lotus flowers

Answers

Question 1.

All of these answers are acceptable, it just comes down to which option makes you feel most happy. All options have flow on effects, especially mental ones, such as the satisfaction of getting jobs done around the home or the feeling of restfulness and centredness after spending a day relaxing with a book, so remember to consider this as well. What will you get out of the action v’s what do you need right now. It is important not to keep thinking over the other options all day with guilt that you didn’t choose them. Choose your option and enjoy.

Question 2. 

The right thing to do here is c. This should be a quick fix to help someone and then you will be back on your way home. However, depending on how tired you are and how much pain you are in, the other options may slip out. Be careful to not let illness get in the way of you being the person you are without it. Checking your inner voice to make sure it isn’t driving negativity is very important and it can be hard to do that when in a lot of pain. If you do slip up, don’t forget you are human and you are in pain and sometimes you can’t be everything.

Question 3.

The problem with this question is that you probably want to jump on a plane and go be with your family for Christmas. However, life with illness means that you have to plan your energy use very carefully. Your body doesn’t care if it’s Christmas Day, your birthday, graduation day, the day you are presenting a proposal to your bosses, your children’s school concert day, the day you leave for a trip overseas, etc. Your body needs rest constantly, in order just to get through a normal day. Be very careful with planning big events and trips. Sometimes you will have to say no to some things in order to say yes to others. Don’t fight it, it is just the way you have to live with chronic illness.

Score

It doesn’t matter. Be kind to yourself.

Where is my creativity hiding?

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Matisse quoteWhen you have to spend a lot of time resting you end up with a lot of thinking time. Pain and fatigue means that your thoughts can be confused and untamed at times and, if you overthink ideas like me, your thoughts might go round and round, but lead nowhere. When my mind is all over the place I have been turning to easy pastimes while resting, like television and computer games and reading. However, I know I have a creative side so I thought I might be able to harness my thinking and channel it into more creative hobbies that may be a lot more mentally stimulating and rewarding. Story making, drawing, painting that sort of thing.

Having an illness leads to connecting more intimately with the inner self. Some people find that they are able to express this connection with their inner self through art, writing, photography, sewing, etc. This is what I want to do, but it seems that my motivation and creativity is lost as soon as I arrive home. Lately, as soon as I am home I crash to sleep and then I struggle to feel well thereafter. It is like because I want to use my creativity more, suddenly it is not ready and waiting, it is hiding from view. Further, days off at home when I am well rested, relaxed and interested in being creative and not catching up on jobs, are few and far between. I am capturing little bits of time here and there but it is just not enough effort. I am not getting the quality time to think of an idea, grab onto it and run with it. Right brain

I think I am creative enough. I know I used to be when I was younger. I show creativity at work, especially with thinking up teaching ideas. I am beginning to share my creativity when I create art examples for my students. I have such an urge to create art in my own art lessons, but I am not student, I am teacher, and that involves a lot of time doing management and assisting and not a lot of time doing making.

I have twittered from one idea to the other and not settled on anything very productive. There are things in my project box, but nothing is focused. I have used morning pages and now I can’t do them while I’m working, there’s not enough time to get ready of a morning (it takes me a long time).  I am ever so slowly working through what I like and what inspires me, the topics and materials. It feels as if I will never settle on an idea and get that motivation towards a project that I am seeking.

Tomorrow I am heading to the National Art Gallery in Melbourne. I am going to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition and will see what inspires me throughout the day. I will also take my new compact camera with me to have a practise with it’s settings.

You may be thinking, “Why are you not staying home tomorrow on your day off, you could work on it then?” I should be staying home, especially as I feel like I need to sleep. But, my car needs a service. It’s a month late actually. So, it’s a trip to the city for a car service. The redeeming factor is that the Subaru where I take my car give complimentary coffee and provide a shuttle bus into the city centre. It’s the small things that make all the difference.

Zombie life

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Zombie in car

Sometimes, well actually a lot lately, I feel like I’m floating through life in some semi conscious state, not really focused on anything. Dazed and confused and not able to concentrate. Like a zombie. I even just thought what if I am dead and I haven’t worked it out yet?

Can zombies drive cars and pump fuel and eat McDonalds? Maybe.

Chronic illness and a changing self

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chronic-illness-wisdom-title

Chronic illness eventually changes the way you think about life.  This seems to happen bit by bit every day. The speed of this change would depend on the illness severity and the personality of the person.  I actually think I can feel my thought patterns changing. Not only has my body slowed down, but my thinking and decision making has become a lot more controlled.  I am becoming a lot more wary of tension and emotional build up. Some people may look at this and think I am not excited or passionate or involved. I am those things, it is just a slow, paced excitement, if you get what I mean. I also make decisions based on something other than head or heart, but I am not entirely sure what it is. Maybe I have started making decisions based on intuition about what I need?

Here are some thought patterns that become the mainstay of those who manage illness over a long period of time:

– Treasure the small things.

– Treasure special times with family.

– Evaluate what is really important.

– Make the most of every opportunity.

– Make the most of the life you have been given.

– Only I understand what I am going through.

– I have to prioritise my needs over what other people expect of me.

People with chronic illnesses only have limited energy, limited patience, limited effort. Anything too draining emotionally or physically has to be cleansed from your life. Deciding what and who is important and what/who needs to drop by the way side is important.  You have to choose quality over quantity in many things, including relationships. It just isn’t worth it to have negative and toxic people suck the life out of you, literally.

Every day can be a different challenge and this never stops. You try to plan around your individual needs, but this doesn’t necessarily go to plan. Every day is a new day and we never know how that day will go.

Can you feel your inner self changing? What is new? What have you left behind?