Sunday, May 5, 2013

So what is this initiative you speak of?

This is INITIATIVE!!! 

In its simplest form it is thinking of and planning something, you can do in the form of a physical job or task and following this through to completion.
I'm not talking about grand plans that need grand rewards. There should never need to be any kind of self boost from helping someone. This isn't something you do and then plaster all over facebook to your friends, or blog about.

Simple examples of Initiative:
For the husband
  1. Husband sitting watching favourite T.V. show can just sit there OR he could use some initiative and fold the washing that Wife has washed/pegged/unpegged/brought in off line/left in basket hoping said Husband may tonight have found a spare can of initiative in refrigerator not another beer can.
  2. Husband has told Wife it is her night off dinner duties. Husband has no idea how to cook so you could either ask wife how to do everything - starting with what shall we have for dinner... OR you could use some initiative either plan a meal from a recipe book, online, call your Mum/sister/MotherinLaw/bestfriend. But do not tell Wife she has night off and then have Wife wishing she had just bloody well done it herself as it was easier. All else failing order takeout.
  3. Wife gets told its her day to have a sleep in. Husband can tell she is tired. Husband can tell children to quietly watch tv and get their own breakfast while he stays in bed too on his computer/phone/tablet OR he could use some initiative and take the children to a special breakfast outing somewhere followed by a morning out with Daddy {while Mummy rests in peace and quiet}
  4. Husband offers suggests Wife has an early night as things are getting on top of her lately. Muchly appreciating the offer exhausted Wife goes to bed, then Husband sits and watches T.V  OR you could use some initiative and do the dishes, pick up the dirty washing, fold and put away the clean washing etc etc. There is nothing worse than going to bed for an early night to get up the next morning and find that nothing got done and you are a day behind on chores.

For the new parent 
  1. Make a few home cooked meals/baking {that are suitable for freezing} and drop them off in the first few days/weeks after the birth of their new bundle. This is the motherload initiative. Dinner time is called the witching hour in households with children for a reason. Make sure they are in containers that can stack neatly in the freezer and can be reheated {the supermarket and dollar stores have these}. Write on the containers whats in them - it saves trying to guess what tasty treats you may be getting and find tonight we are eating lammingtons!
    A really organised friend may even be able to get a few friends on the go with this to have a roster system going where hot meals are being delivered at tea time. I prefer the reheat option to gives you the control over what time you eat and if you are having a super organised day and managed to do dinner yourself you still have back ups in the freezer. If you are going to go with a roster of freezables make sure the organiser has spyed out the available freezer space - usually the Dads are the go to option for this they never say no to food where the Mums may feel bad or that they aren't doing enough as a mother blah blah. This is help/gift/initiative not judgement
  2. When dropping off presents - unless you have arranged a time or can see/hear movement - don't go knocking and expecting to be let in. Leave the present on the doorstep with a lovely note/card and arrange a time that is suitable with the new parents to stop by again. Ahem I hear initiative.
  3. Finally getting to see the baby - when you arrive baby is asleep and Mum looks exhausted. Hello initiative either let you friend know you are happy she/he/they are still alive and shoo them off to bed while you leave them to rest and you will catch up soon. OR offer if there is anything you can do - hang out some washing, put a load on, fold some, some ironing, take an older child with you some they can rest, do some dishes, vacuum. Just use some bloody initiative.
  4. If by chance you actually make it in the door for a visit and everyone is alive, well and rested initiative does not go out the window. This is where YOU get up and make the cuppa and while you are there you also might do some washing up or stack the dishwasher. You may also realise the fridge is almost bare due to new baby and no time to shop - so make a mental note to either do a small online shop and have it delivered or go to the grocery store,  fill a box and drop it off of some essentials, easy snacks and a few treats for Mum (milk, bread, butter/marg, yoghurts, fruit, cold meats, nuts, some chocolate, snack bars etc etc).  
  5. Don't stay too long Babies get tired, Mums/Dads are exhausted. Unless you are Mother/Father/Brother/Sister/Aunt/Uncle and you are staying at the house to HELP (not be a pain in the ass and be waited upon by your already exhausted children/siblings). Use initiative and know when its time to go - or when you need to stay longer. Ask if you should leave and know when they are being too polite to tell you to feck off already!
  6. DONT give advice unless it is asked for. Use some freaken initiative babies are all different and so are the parents. What works for you doesn't work for everyone. Be there to listen and if you are asked for advice give it but always add this is what worked for me. That way they don't feel like they left some manual behind that everyone else got or feel judged that you could do it when they so clearly are having a tough time. Tell them about a struggle you had to let them see we all fail at this and somehow it all turns out okay (ish).
In public 
  1. Old lady with shopping walking towards door struggling with bags OR you could practice some initiative and hold open the door, offer to carry a bag and help her to her car. Even better! get the kids to help! {Teach your kids initiative now people before its too late}
  2. At the park little boy on trying to get on swing. Mum juggling newborn saying I will feed you once Johnny has his swing. You could think poor child, welcome to the real world, you are going to be ignored a lot more than just this now! OR you could say to the Mum is it ok if I help him up and give him a push? I remember whats its like to have my hands full! Use some initiative Mother will be grateful son got swing he has harped on about for past two weeks and she is able to feed baby who is no longer wailing like a firetruck.
  3. You see a mobile phone sitting outside the grocery store - clearly forgotten - no one in sight. You could think. Poor buggers probably wont be there by the time they come back OR you could hand it in at the grocery store service desk using your friend Mr. initiative. 
  4. You are at your favourite family restaurant - The Golden Arches. After you have enjoyed your meal knowing the children will be eternally grateful {until the next time you have a fight which will be in approximately 1.5 minutes when you tell them you are not playing on the playground} you look around a see all the tables lined with trays and rubbish. You could get up and walk away thinking the lobby girl is going to have fun once she gets out here OR you could use some of that awesome initiative to go and put your trash in the bin and the tray on top. How hard was that? Would you expect your children to leave your table looking like that? So why is it okay just because you are out?? 

Initiative works best when you also have common sense and know your Husband/Wife/Parents/Children/Family/Friends well. If you know they are lacking support but there is no way you can help due to time and space try take the load of buy sending a gift in the mail to let them know you are thinking of them. You can even do most of it online these days where you don't even have to go to the post office. 

If it is a family member rally the family {there may be a group of close friends instead} to share the load and see what you can all do between you. Everyone has different talents and abilities and between a group of people there should be a few ideas to help out.

Just don't do nothing! ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Words are great and touching when we need some uplifting but action it by putting them in a really nice card and posting it - to say hey! I thought of you enough to pick this card especially for you, and then said lovely things too.

 I think the world could be a better place if we could all learn to use a little initiative.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where are all the people that have some feckin initiative?

I might have got it.
Why I feel so pissed off at the lack of help and support.

I am not the kind of person who sits around and waits to be asked or to be told when I comes to helping out. I use this thing - I think they even have a word for it - initiative

For those still not understanding me
1. The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.
2. A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.

So I find it rather frustrating to not only have my hands tied by an illness as debilitating as Fibromylagia {and the chronic pain and fatigue that it so conveniently joined at the hip} but the fact that everyone around me seems to be totally void of feckin initiative!!

Come on people! Its not that hard.

I am the person who:
  • cooks dinner when you are babysitting my children.
  • folds the washing that was sitting on the floor while we had coffee at your house.
  • washes the dishes after a meal at your place.
  • puts away the toys my kids have pulled out while visiting.
  • turns up just to drop of a meal or baking when you need a hand (baby/sickness/stress).
  • takes your child so you can go to the hairdresser/clothes shopping/groceries without the stress of little Tommy.
  • Has your kids for sleep overs because I know you then get some time out.
  • Cleans your toilet if I arrive and your are cleaning the shower.
  • I will make things I know you like, even when I costs me more than I can afford and ask nothing in return.
  • I will say yes to helping even when it means rearranging my plans/day/week/family because you are my friends and I want to help where I can.
  • I go about researching and finding out information that might help when you need it.
  • I will ask how you are and keep asking when I know you aren't telling me the truth.
  • I will do my best to know I have done at least something in my power to help!
 So this is why I find it hard to ask out right for exactly what I need. I have been efficient and sufficient at not only fixing my world but also viewing the world around me with where to help. I get hurt and I get pissed off when I see people can't use some simple initiative {ask my husband he knows this too well} 

 If you just stopped focusing on yourself for one minute and thought about one thing you could do to make someone else's life easier, less painful, more supported, more connected. This my friends is the starting of something beautiful. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I feel trapped inside something I can't even beginning to explain.
It's hot and it's cold.
It's too fast and its mind numbingly slow.
It's painful but I feel so numb.

I feel the world withdrawing or is it me?
I am trying my best but my best isn't what it used to be.
Everyone is busy rushing around.
Rushing around makes me feel worse.

I try and cover up how I am feeling but then you say I am doing fine.
I appear to cope so well.
You don't know me.

I cry because the pain is unbearable.
I cry because I have lost sense of who I am.
I cry because I feel void and empty.
I cry because I feel alone in this.

But then I can't cry anymore because it all feels pointless and stupid.
Everything feels vain and empty.
The only thing running through my head is a big fat 'LIFE IS MEANINGLESS'

How can my life be to get up and just make it through another day of pain and agony.
To do enough that other people think everything is okay.
To cope enough.
What the hell is enough???

Right now I just need something and I don't know what.

Yes I know everyone has a lot to deal with.
I know people are coping with their own lot in life.
I know people are enjoying their happiness and their sorrow.
Don't take this the wrong way.
This is in no way directed at anyone.
This is my venting space.
This is the one thing that may keep me focused for today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Processing Me

Today I don't feel like doing anything. I just want to lay in my bed - if only these were the words from a pop song titled the Lazy song. It describes my life down to a tee right now.

There is so much going on in my head. I am slowly chipping away at all the information I am finding about Fibromyalgia. I am trying to come to terms with a "label" and find how it can help me.

I have found some really good support groups on Facebook:
Fibromyalgia Support Australia
Fibromyalgia Network {which is a world wide support network}
Hunter Region Fibromyalgia Support Network {NSW Australia}
Hunter Fibromyalgia Support Group {A closed group so that what you share here isn't shared with the rest of your facebook network. Giving you some privacy}

 These networks have proved invaluable over the last few days.  It has given me a place to ask questions, to vent, to listen, to provide others with support and mostly to not feel alone. The biggest thing in the last twelve months is I have felt like I have suffered with a silent and invisible illness. At times I have felt like I am losing my mind because the doctors couldn't find anything on tests, yet I just could not get better. I tried to get over it, I tried to get out more, to be happier, to run at life BUT all I got was sicker. I got good at hiding it from everyone but slowly I have disappeared more and more.

I know I have a great bunch of friends and family who are ever understanding and willing to help but it is hard to "get" what is going on. I'm sure there are days when they have all thought can't she just get over it and get on with it already! I myself have been one of those people thinking it. Unless you see the daily ups and downs of this disease and the how it smashes you around it really is hard to understand. I am good at putting on a brave face when I have to leave the comfort of my fort {our house} but within these four walls lately I have built a place where I fall apart and crumble. A place where I am no longer strong and the one with the answers. A place where I don't know who I am??

It is a relief to discover other people going through similar circumstances. There is nothing like reading someone else's story and thinking 'that is me' and suddenly not feeling so alien. Or hearing someone else share their story of hardship and thinking 'you know what? Today I had a pretty good day, I should be thankful.' It really helps to put things in perspective. [Which is something I haven't had a lot of lately.]

I have realised lately I have become really selfish and self centred  and I really dislike it a lot. It usually isn't until I leave somewhere and realise that I didn't help clean up, or I didn't do anything but talk about myself. I miss out on finding out how my friends are because I am so centred on me. I really really DISLIKE it. I do it with my friends, my kids and my husband..... I was not this person! Where have I gone??

I have also found great resources which validate all the things I am feeling and symptoms I have. Like this Ridiculously Long List of Fibro Symptoms - Take a look it might give you some idea about the "invisible and unrecognised" disease I now have the pleasure of knowing.

So for today - Today I swear I'm not doing anything, nothing at all.....

Friday, April 12, 2013

{suddenly this feels like AA}

On Wednesday I finally got to see a neurologist and finally got some of the answers I have been looking for. So now I have a firm diagnosis, something to define what is happening in my life. I'm not stumbling in the dark or wondering about the what ifs. It is something that can't be cured but it can be "managed". For now I am thankful that it wasn't something else, something degenerative. But it is still hard to come to terms with. Life, as I knew it, will never be that way again. And I think this is the part I am finding the hardest to deal with. It isn't just a broken bone that is going to heal, or an infection that is going to clear. I have a chronic disorder {is that even what they labelled it?} called fibromyalgia

I do a pretty good job at keeping it together, or at least making it look like it. But the truth is I don't have it all together and I'm not coping. My house would be the first tell tale sign for anyone who knows me well. Lately it has been strewn with dirty clothes and dishes, toys all over the floor, clutter all over the benches. Don't even ask me when I last time I moped my floors or scrubed my bathroom.

Yes this is me. Queen of clean and everything in it's place.
No I haven't gone to some intense therapy or finally given into the "it'll wait", "don't stress too much", "everything can't always be perfect" slogans.
My life has literally gone beyond my breaking point.

I can't tell you the last time I read my kids a bedtime story or didn't get angry and yell at them for asking me to tuck them in bed. I haven't met my kids teachers and we just broke for term one holidays today - I have had eleven weeks! serious soaking in the guilt of bad mothering.
Everyday I feel I fail them more.
I don't know how to react when I see their behaviour because I'm not well again or I haven't made it to something for school - yet again.
I don't know what to say when they yell and cry at me for always being sick and never taking them to do things anymore or having their friends over to play.
It breaks my heart to know I am not the Mummy I was.

So what has stopped me from all these things?
Have I suddenly done a reverse flip and learned to be the opposite of everything I ever was?
Because some days that's exactly how it feels.
 I don't know what happened to the woman who enjoyed life, looked forward to doing things with her kids, was proud of her house, spent every spare minute baking, sewing, crocheting or some other craft. What happened to the lady to looked forward to seeing her friends, couldn't wait to pick up a new book to read or see a movie? Where is the drive that taught me to write with both hands just to retain study information or my passion for music?
{yes I have pretending to try and still do all these things over the last few months to keep up appearances but it just ends in tears with me feeling exhausted and inadequate}

Instead I have been swapped for someone I don't even recognise. Someone in unbearable pain - constant headaches and migraines, burning and aching muscles, tingling and numb limbs, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, a dairy intolerance, disrupted sleep, multiple chemical sensitivity. And those are just some the physical symptoms.

Then there is the days I can't think straight, or decipher words spoken to me. When I can't get words out because I stutter or jumble them up or can't find the word at all. When I can't concentrate to read, drive, have a conversation or even watch tv. Or when I am so emotional, angry, grumpy, sad, anxious, and the most common of my symptoms vacant.
Brain fog they like to call most of this except unlike fog it isn't just there for an hour or so in the morning before it clears {It can last hours, to days, to weeks - jumping between various symptoms or stuck on one}.

I'm sure there are only two people who see me at my worst. I know I have sometimes let friends in on a little but I never fully let my guard down. But for most people they wouldn't know any of this existed.
When I go out I suck it up and I pull it together the best I can. I hide behind dark glasses and sarcastic comments, when all else fails. When life is even to unbearable to pretend for those few hour I hide.
I stay home and I hibernate.
I shut myself out and I avoid at all costs.
Never letting anyone see the reality of this world I am in.

But the reality is it is getting too big for me to expect just one or two people to carry the load of. I see the worry and the wear on their faces and know I need more help. So this is just step one. Admitting I have a problem and I need some help and I am not okay anymore  - even though tomorrow I will still smile and still pretend to be. This is now my life not able to be cured but somehow needing to be managed.
{(without caffeine) which when you already feel extremely tired and crap and it has been the only thing to get you through the last few months it is a hard thing to hear}

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the BIG whinge

They say the grass always looks greener on the other side. Currently we have lush green grass, due to an unusual amount of summer rain, but that is about where it stops.....
Life is daunting and uncertain.
I carry the weight of it all and it all compounds in my head at 3am when I am tossing and turning.
It suddenly hits me in the quiet moments when the kids are at school and Squeak and I are cuddled up on the couch watching a movie together.
The reality is in my head as I pay another medical bill, cancel a specialist appointment or as I try to avoid going to buy more medication that we can't afford right now.

As much as I love being a stay at home Mum this world we now live in makes it very hard for this to be possible. I know that I have been lucky enough to have this privilege for longer than a lot of other people now days. Reality is that we need an extra income now as I just can't see another way through. And in this lies a problem of its own - childcare. I didn't have children for someone else to raise them or look after them while I pursued dreams of my own. But now it isn't even about that, it is to the point where me working is about the only way to add that extra few dollars that is continually required; for school, living costs, groceries, petrol, insurances. Don't even start to talk about savings toward buying our own house or going on some luxury holiday - in my mind there is no chance. Or the fact that I have lost 16kg and a new wardrobe is nothing but a fairytale I dream.

Yes we could look at reducing our living costs as rent here is exorbitant due to the market demand but once we move other sacrifices come into play. The children would have to look at moving from an amazing school where they have made awesome friends. BUT Driving them back to school would defeat the purpose of moving to reduce costs.
We are at the advantage in our current property to rear our own animals for meat and to grow our produce - which in the long run will benefit both our pockets and health. The ability to know what is chemically in our food is necessary for my health. Unfortunately getting a garden establish requires time and MONEY. Long term benefits and gain YES! but short term it is just unachievable right now.

Jobs aren't something that is abounding for a mother of three with no skill or qualification. I know this is something I am going to face when ever I choose to take that step towards the working world and it is scary as hell. My health is also another concern as we still are no better off in answers as to why I get debilitating migraines, torturous nerve pain, weakness in my limbs, brain dysfunctions, creeping numbness with pins and needles and so much more.
Medication and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what is helping me to even function in life {I am currently on day five of a migraine that has finally won putting me in hospital for stronger medication BUT which made me chronically ill due to a reaction I had to it}
It worries me to think of putting more stress on my body than it can cope with. We are currently awaiting specialist appointments but these again are just another financial strain.

I have become a Tupperware demonstrator in the hope to fill in a few of the money gaps but unless I get the demonstrations and only when they are of a certain amount in sales is there any benefit and gain. I am now imagining myself working at McDonalds or Hungry Jacks as it is about all there is available for someone of my skill. But whats the point in the extra $100 in our pockets for the stress?

I wish I was going to Ruawai this weekend to spend time with my family for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary but I. just. can't. and its another one of those moments where you have to live with the choice of being in another country. In moments like this I feel the heartache of our decision to be here and when things are tough financially and in health I sometimes wonder if it is all worth it.

We moved here because we wanted a better life for our children and while Corey and I suffer the pain of being here the kids are doing really well. They love school and their friends. They are achieving above standard in their learning and sport. But would they do that anywhere? I question myself everyday.....
We know that we moved because we didn't realistically have a chance of bettering ourselves in NZ. Here I know we do. We didn't have parents who took our kids so that we could have time together or time out, so here it isn't much different. We had great friends who we relied on, and I miss many of them daily, but we are developing and growing strong friendships here.
Our biggest support was seven hours away - they are now roughly the same amount of time with a plane ride too. We have the landline phone now to keep in contact with everyone but still it barely rings. People are quick to say they wish they could help but the reality is there was a chance to and they never did so we aren't missing much.

Yes life is hard but I suck it up and I get on with it. Most people would have no idea because we aren't the kind of people to moan and groan. We try our best to fix our problems and find our own solutions without relying on other people.  Yes this is a BIG whinge but we are going to sort it the best we know how. Stumbling our way through and feeling that great sense of achievement when we know we got there by ourselves. I just needed to get it out of my head that is already exploding beyond my control.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frustrated - Not the normal hearts and flowers post

  • I am frustrated at the medical profession and their lack of empathy.
  • I am frustrated at the heat.
  • I am frustrated that I can't explain to anyone what I am going through.
  • I am frustrated that I am unable to keep my house the way I like it to be.
  • I am frustrated that all the tests come back "normal" when the quality of my life is anything but.
  • I am frustrated that I can't just up and run away.
  • I am frustrated that family is so far away.
  • I am frustrated with the flies and not being able to use a Robo-can this year.
  • I am frustrated with the cost of medications that seem to be a band-aid to problems not addressing why the symptoms are there.
  • I am frustrated I am losing touch with my children.
  • I am frustrated that I am changing.
  • I am frustrated that people choose not to see or help.
  • I am frustrated that the smallest task leaves me incredibly tired and fatigued.
  • I am frustrated that I am trying and yet it seems worthless at this time.
  • I am frustrated that I can't fix it, just get over it or suck it up {all of which I was good at}.
  • I am frustrated we live so far from services and the toll it take to get places, physically and financially.
  • I am frustrated enough I have to get this out, instead of keeping it to myself, which I have been doing and making no sense of things.
  • I am frustrated that my body doesn't feel like it listens to me anymore.
  • I am frustrated at all this illness {even though no one can or will name it} has taken from me.
  • I am frustrated and scared and struggling my way through this.
I know this is usually the place where you might find the beauty and sparkles of everyday life. But my reality lately is all of the above. I haven't known how to approach it and haven't known how to write without mixing the two worlds. The truth is I need somewhere to write and get these things off my chest and if you choose not to accept this part of MY blog. Please just kindly skip this post and look next to time to check if there are rainbows and butterflies again.

Somehow life does go on in the midst of our darkness and we have to try and make sense of it before it drives us crazy. We don't have the support networks and help we could have if we lived in NZ, but the reality is we couldn't afford to live there with three young children. We are doing what we can to get on our feet here in Australia and unfortunately money does play a role in all of that.

The roads that we are heading down for help for my health is extremely costly for one. We are also blessed to have found a G.P who is doing all he can to point us in the right path for help - but he is only one man. We need more help than just him.

For now I have one word and that is frustrated. It covers so much of what I am feeling and thinking. If you don't like it, that is fine, you don't have to. I am the one who lives with the reality of this everyday and if I want to be frustrated by it, I think I have earned the right.