Success

It’s been a big week. I’ve been at opposite ends of the emotional scale and I’m a bit frazzled. A bit frayed, a bit stretched too far, a bit edgy and nervous. But I’m here, I’m overall doing okay so we press on. And let’s bear a thought for the people that have been there with me. Who’ve felt for me, who I’ve felt for; they’ve been all over the place and back again, some much more than me.

I’ve been higher than I’ve been for a long time. And not a high-due-to-mania high but a regular this-is-how-normal-people-react-to-good-things way, which is the awesome part! I had something good happen and I reacted and behaved just like a normal people-person. In a something-good-has-happened-to-me way, and in an I-want-to-jump-up-and-down-about-it way. Not with depression, not with mania, not with anxiety. Well not much anxiety anyway. Gotta have a little; its a big deal

So what happened? I got the job! I GOT THE JOB! I GOT THE JOB!!!!!! I GOT THE PERFECT JOB!!!!!!!!!!

The job that is 4 minutes walk from my house. The job that is part time; two days one week and three days the next. The job that is everything I’ve done before in my career. The job that has lovely people who are already very supportive and willing to give me a go. Cos it is a big deal for them to take me on. I haven’t worked full time since March 3, 2014 and I haven’t worked part time since October 14, 2014. They don’t know how I’ll go getting back to work but they’re prepared to take the chance which is just amazing.

I can’t tell you how much my confidence has increased in the last couple of weeks from rewriting my resume and looking at what I’ve accomplished so far; going to an interview and establishing a rapport with the interviewers, being able to sell my strengths and nailing the clinical question despite so long away from the hospital wards; hearing back that I was the best applicant and that I’ve been offered the job.

I lost so much confidence, trust and faith in myself after I went off work sick. Sitting at home not exercising my brain, not using any of my knowledge and skills, not able to keep up my practice was brutal on my self worth and identity. And has been brutal over a long time, to the point where I sometimes felt that I would never practice as a pharmacist again. I’d never proved that I could retain knowledge and skills over a period of non use.

But now I have, and it’s been an enormous relief to me! I’ve still got it! I can still do it. I’m not useless, I can go out and make a difference and earn a wage and contribute something to the universe. Pheeewwww!!

And then there was the darkness. A dear special friend in very real danger reached out to me. I was honoured they came to me. But the task given to me to save the day was a very difficult one and I experienced such fear and worry and helplessness. Nothing compared to what they felt, but still real to me. It made me return to some of my difficult days and use the pain and suffering I remembered and try to give the antidotes that I’d found. But ultimately the day was saved, by a combined effort of concerned family and friends. The success which gave me a whole other sense of relief and alleviated fear and even achievement.

Which got me thinking about success. Again. I’ve been thinking about it on and off for a while now. What is success? How to we measure success? How do we know when we have achieved success?

In my job interview I was asked a question that caused me to be a bit flummoxed. At the end of your work day, how do you measure success? What needs to happen in the day for you to feel that you have been successful at your job?

In every other job that I’ve had the number of patients seen in the day has mostly been the measure of success. You have this many patients and you need to provide this level of pharmaceutical care to each of them. Not meeting this demand was a stressful event!

But an unexpected thing happened. My new boss has a much different and very refreshing philosophy. Accepting that there is insufficient funding to provide the ideal pharmacy service that we all dream of, management have taken the view that seeing every one of your allocated patients probably isn’t possible.

So instead they want pharmacists to find satisfaction in the good work that they do for each patient that they see. They want pharmacists to do there best work for patients one by one instead of rushing yourself to show on paper that you’ve seen each patient, when in fact you’ve probably skimmed each one. By prioritising patients and doing your best work for each patient that you can see in the day, management hope that there is higher job satisfaction. And I believe that there will be! Which is a success.

That’s success on the high side. Me, back in a job, helping patients and providing a clinical service. Or anyone doing that, really. It’s not all about me. Holding a job, earning a wage, paying a mortgage, being financially independent, completing study and I’m sure you can think of more. Being a friend, achieving personal goals.

Success on the low side is totally different. It’s not about ideals and doing your best work and demands and expectations. It’s about survival. Surviving the night, the day, the hour, the next five minutes. It’s about accepting whatever help is necessary to get by, taking whoever’s hand you are able to grasp to pull you back up, using the little strength and will you have to just hold on. It’s a whole different picture and the contrast to success on the high side is enormous.

So whatever your success is, well done! You worked hard for it and you deserve to be acknowledged for all that work and for the courage that it took to start and finish that work. Whether it was getting a promotion or putting down the poison or making great strides in your fitness or deciding to keep on going. You have done a great job and I’m proud of you!

To my dear who kept living, my darl who keeps facing it alone, and each one of you who has had success in any part of your life: you are amazing and an inspiration to me every day!

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Keeping busy

Life has been a little busy lately. I’ve been trying to be an adult, a functioning adult. You know, one that gets up in the morning, does stuff all day then goes to bed at night. Without an afternoon nap or sitting in bed for half of the day or getting nothing done.

So I’ve been adding structure to my day, much like I did last May when I thought I might get back to work soon! Well that didn’t work that time, but hopefully this time I’ll get there.

Last May I took on an eight week photography course, an eight week mindfulness course plus went to the Imax once a week to check out a 3D animal feature, plus a joined a pilates studio and etc etc. I haven’t stayed in touch with anyone but my teachers.

This time I’m in a very different place. I took on an eight week getting back to bike riding course where I made a lot of new friends and still catch up with them every week. I’ve been doing housework: trying to keep on top of the dishes, the meals, the washing, the bins, the groceries and trying to commit to keeping up with the ironing. I have a bird bath, a little flower patch.

I feel like this is the real thing. Like I am breaking through the barriers to get back to the life I had before LRH (my old job). I’m cooking dinners and enjoying it, I’m getting the washing done before we start taking clothes out and wearing them dirty, and so on. My husband is thrilled! He got to love cooking but he’s happy to be alternating nights instead of doing everything; or even just not having to do the meals one night a week! And I’m glad that I’ve moved on from sitting watching him cook feeling useless and pointless and not worth my keep! He’s still surprised when he goes to do a chore and it’s done. It’s almost comical. He asks, who did this? Did you do this? Well yes, yes I did. There’s no-one else here!

I’ve still been trying to get out and about, checking out exhibitions, looking for day trips with either my bike group or my bird watching group. having coffee or lunch or brunch with friends. On Saturday I rode from Woori Yallock to Warburton return, 34km, with my bike group, Wheel Women. It nearly killed me but the weather and scenery and people were all wonderful. Yesterday I had impromptu coffee with a good friend. Tomorrow I’m going on a bird watching outing with Birdlife.

I’m having good days 🙂 And it’s so good!

 

Understood

All along the way from when I first got sick with anxiety, through the dark days of depression and during the ups and downs and unknowns of bipolar disorder, I’ve always been comforted by music lyrics.

Probably I would have been similarly consoled by poetry, literature, plays and movies but of them all songs are the most accessible form of written word, and come with the added benefit of mood modulating sound.

Having been an avid reader all my life who could read write through the night, read in the almost dark, read with a failing torch under the covers, read in the toilet, at the beach, in the car until I got car sick, it is disappointing that I am now a very light reader. Books are out, magazines are okay if they’re mostly pictures with captions, letters are manageable, journals can be tackled in short passages, and reading my Bible is an ongoing battle.

Which makes songs perfect! I can turn on the radio and the music is fed to me song after song and takes no effort on my part. It just lilts into my ears, is filtered by my brain channels and either goes upward into storage or outwards never to be listened to again. Kind of like all the apps out there; Pandora, Spotify etc. No effort, just listening and enjoying and trimming all the gross ones while storing all the good ones.

I’ve written about some of the songs that have resonated with me: Sia’s Chandelier, Eminem and Rihanna’s Monsters, and maybe a couple of others when I was talking about the Songs That Made Me tour of Katie Noonan.

Here’s a new one: Pitbull and Neo’s Time of Our Lives. Now Pitbull in real life seems to be a very scary and possible violent person…actually I think there are court cases to show the possible is a certainty. But I can’t help it, I just love the timber of his voice. I love it!

So I was listening to it today and I want to share the lyrics that grabbed my heart and my gut and my thoughts all at once and made me say, yes!

Yes, that’s just what it’s like! I had a thought about the idea in my head but now you, creative artist, have put my muddled thoughts into clear words that are just so right to me. Yes, that’s just what it’s all about. Someone gets me, someone understands my thoughts and here they are in a cool song! It’s almost like these are the words that I need someone to say, and here you’ve gone and said it and filled that hole in my spirit.

Everybody going through something (repeated 8 times)

This is for anybody going through tough times

Believe me, been there, done that

But everyday above ground is a great day, remember that

-Time of Our Lives – Pitbull feat Ne-Yo

Isn’t that nice? I think it’s nice. And for the same reason Eminem always connects so strongly with me. There is something very soothing about a big, tough, strong, violent, criminal man saying to me through song, I get what you’re going through, and I’m settled enough in my own personality to admit that I’ve been there too, I understand it, and you will be okay. How sweet, big, tough man!

I’ll mention in a brief passing note that listening to the whole song might not exactly be the lovely calming thing I’ve made it to be. I’ve taken these words way out of context. The main point of the song is a guy in a tight financial jam who can’t pay his rent or bills or keep up with his life but he has just enough money to go and get smashed and perv on the hot bartender and maybe get lucky! Soooo….yeah. I took this nice bit out, but maybe you should just read these words and trust me that hearing them straight from Pitbull was a sweet moment for me. My recommendation in difficult times is never to drink yourself into a stupor before you get evicted/repossessed/arrested!

But I think it is always refreshing and relieving to hear anyone say that they realise others are having a rough time, that they realise you are having a tough time or that they have had a tough time. It makes me personally feel closer to a person who says this because I feel they are someone I can trust with myself because of their empathy, experience and/or care for others. A person like that seems to be one that won’t let you down, or give you a hard time over your difficulties, or expect miraculous recoveries. A person like that knows just how to be what you need most, cares about you and understands you. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?

Even if it’s just for a moment, and comes from a celebrity, and is sung in a song.

Even if you know you’ll never know the artist, and the moment of hearing the song will pass, but the world is a better place for them getting your struggle and singing about it!

For a few brief moments you and they are as one, and your loneliness and feeling of being misunderstood and people not ‘getting’ you and finding it hard to express your pain are resolved and made better and you are soothed.

That is truly wonderful.

Down on the farm: babysitting adventures

I haven’t posted any photos for ages! Ages and ages. So it’s time for some photos. Especially because these photos are just pure gold in their description of things that can’t really be described.

The expressions on a kittens face. The joy of splashing in dirty puddles while wearing spotlessly clean clothes, fresh on. Dancing in the living room. 4 year old selfies. And there’s so much more but I’m limited by my WordPress account space so I’ll try to pick the best.

I don’t want anyone’s identity other than mine to be divulged here so these photos are deliberately obscured. .. but I think you’ll get the gist.

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First the setting; isn’t it glorious?

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Heading off down the road

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Hedging around, circling, then plunging straight into puddles!

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Then abandoning the bikes and plunging in feet first! Unfortunately little one’s boots are quite a bit shorter than big one!

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Dancing around and around to the programed beat of the pedal organ… simple pleasures

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Everyone in? Learning how to take selfies, at the ripe ol age of just four

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!!!

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Aww! Be you a dog person or a cat person, doesn’t your heart just melt? Of course you can have another belly scratch! Or a another serve of tuna smush. Or whatever your little cat heart desires!

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Stunning!

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Why is he biting me? It’s not like a have him in a stranglehold or anything! Gentle, what do you mean?

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Rustic charm to the max

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I left my camera at home by accident for this trip! Devastating! But I was pretty happy with this shot. It was completely accidental that it worked out like this, just a point and shoot. But I adore how every part of the shot is blurred to show action except the face which is frozen in time.

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Ah the country

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Goodbye farm. Goodbye kids. See you next time!

UTTER ELATION!

YIPPEE! WOO HOO! YAY! HUZZAH! *JUMPING UP AND DOWN* *SCREAMING, SHOUTING, TWISTING, PUNCHING THE AIR*

And if you think that excessive, there’s more to come!

Am I manic? Have I gone properly insane instead of just hanging in the balance? Am I high on petrol fumes? Or sugar?

No.

This just happened: I applied for a job!!!!!!!

This is so epic it’s just hard to describe!

A job. Me. Now. Application. Resume. Cover letter. Apply online. Talk to actual working people from that workplace. Interview. Qualifications. Selection criteria.

A job. Me. Do you know when I last worked full time? March 3rd 2014. More than a year ago. I can’t forget that date because it was also the date I caught a cab to the emergency department and all that has followed on from then. Do you know when I last worked, part time? October 13th 2014, the end of a six week stint.

Either way it’s been a long, long time.

There have absolutely been points along the way when I did not think I would ever return to work. I thought I might remain at home in some kind of invalid-ish way waiting for life to pass by.

Then I thought I’d change career paths altogether. My official back up plan has always been hairdresser. When my previous job sucked so hard, I told everyone that would listen that I was going to be a hairdresser. While I was off work I dreamed up a few other options: teacher of something, photographer, professional Ebayer, consultant of something or other. None of them really ever seriously looked like getting off the ground. Oh, and professional blogger…well, you be the judge of that as an idea!

Then the plan was the change over from hospital pharmacy to community pharmacy. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, and in terms of the scripts you would dispense maybe its not. But I last sold cold and flu tablets in 2010! I vaguely remember the details but I’d need some serious refreshing before that got off the ground.

Then I thought I’d do my usual job but in a diminished way, part time. Except there were no jobs. Literally no jobs for part time work; nearly all hospital jobs are full time. Then there was one, in Dandenong. Now I didn’t mind travelling to Prahran from Box Hill because the public transport connections were good, but Dandenong would just be a painful, disconnected way to go every day. Then there was two, in Footscray! Same problem. So I let that slide.

Then this. Box Hill, the suburb where I live, fed me the perfect-est job for me right now! 3 days a week, 7 minute walk from my bed, Grade 2 which I am, backfill to various positions rather than a permanent ward position which will help me in getting my knowledge and skills up to date!! Perfect!

I don’t know if I’ll get it, of course. But I’m in the process. That’s pretty, really, quite a very lot exciting! I dug out my resume, found the last cover letter I wrote, got the position description and sat up in bed to survey the state of it all.

Updated my resume, still not sure what to do about that there big gap from October 2014 but oh well, fiddled around to re-phrase the cover letter, matched up the criteria as much as possible, confirmed the requirements, put it all into the required format and online job application engine, and clicked GO!

So here we are. My resume, cover letter and application are out there in the universe, wending there way to the friendly, very helpful deputy which I hope means they will be well received.

And I’m so stoked! We got here! Finally, finally, we got here! To where I’m interested, motivated, enthusiastic about the idea of employment. To where I’m jumping up and down inside about this revelation, this achievement, this goalpost reached! How long has it taken, but we got here!

We got here! Elation abounds, excitement rules, I”m so happy to have gotten here. The outcome almost doesn’t matter right now, I’m just stoked to be part of the process! And that makes me very happy!

*Written on 27th April, 2015