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Staying/Getting/Doing Well – Moving goalposts or fixed target?

Paw Prints
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi, this is my first post, though I have been reading the forums for some weeks. I’m probably expressing myself badly when I say that I have found reading about other people’s journeys reassuring. Finding a community of people who “get it” even when they have a wide variety of experiences and lives lived is not something I thought I would ever find.

Though people talk about getting well & there is a section Staying Well, I’m curious as to what this actually means to other people and how they manage their expectations. I noticed some people refer to being well as ‘being like themselves before they got ill’, whilst others don’t express an exact aim.

My idea of being well has changed over the years. I was first diagnosed as an 8 year old child back in the late sixties. The doctors told Mum that the voices in my head & the sudden crying bouts were because I suffered from ‘nerves’ & I was given meds to calm me. Of course such things were not discussed back then & I was told not to talk about it to anyone, not my school friends nor siblings, just Mum. For decades after my idea of being well simply meant being able to hide my illness from others.

A number of events in my life caused my illness to worsen, until some years ago I became so ill I needed to be hospitalised for my own safety. This lead to my current diagnosis of Major Depression, Anxiety & PTSD. I’m no longer in that dark place, but each day is still a battle (though I can now believe in a future). For now only my siblings & one friend know about my illness, though some things they still don’t know.
So, what does ‘being well’ mean to me, it is ever moving goalposts. If you had asked me 5 years ago would I be as well as I am now I would have thought it impossible as I couldn’t envision a future. If you had asked me last week (during one of my down periods) I would have said my progress was all an illusion & I was fooling myself that things can get better.
For now my idea of being well is being able to believe that things can change for the better, that I will one day be able to manage the everyday things like housework, caring for myself & caring for my dog & maybe, just maybe I will even be able to enjoy myself.

Paw Prints
**I took the tip to give myself time to write my post by writing on a word doc & then paste it.

1,020 Replies 1,020

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi ER,

 

Just a quick response as I was on here and saw your post but i'm cooking dinner... I have friends who when they got a car without a cd player, or it broke, got a portable one to put on the passenger seat so they could still play their music as they drove.  They are all rather cross that they have stopped putting cd players in cars as lots of us still like playing our favourite cds.

 

I hope they still let kids learn some things like music and dance at school. Kids should enjoy it too.  The CPTSD is a pain isn't it - I had that from my mother in particular and other things that happened when I was very young and it can be set off in certain situations even at this age - it's been a pain all my life so I understand where you are coming from.

 

I'm about to have dinner but thought I'd stop by and answer briefly.  Will get back to you tomorrow.  It's nice that you did music - my friend where I used to live who teaches harp plays magnificently, I will never be anywhere near as good as her - one of her students, a young lass, is so good that she is now being taught by Alice Giles here in Australia.  I love listening to harp and flute together, it's perfect!

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi ER,

 

I hope you are going OK as I haven't heard from you for a bit.  I just thought I'd check in here - we have a dreadful heatwave here, the air is so hot!  I can't wait for Autumn - I think the nights are supposed to get cooler in another few days.

 

Kitty is feeling the heat and spends most of his time spread out on the floor under the ceiling fan.

 

It was so hot today I didn't even go anywhere, Just stayed in under the fans and did stuff on the computer.

 

Hope all is OK with you.  Sending best wishes.

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Hanna,

 

 I’m sorry I somehow missed your previous post. I usually follow up what is on my notifications so I somehow missed it.

 

 I’m so sorry you have such a dreadful heatwave. It really has been hard in many places. Poor kitty too. I really hope it improves very soon.

 

 I am not too well, mentally or physically. Going through a real struggle. I have severe fatigue and arm weakness that is part of the liver disease I have. I’ve had terrible anxiety and depression too. The process of applying for the DSP is stressful. I’ve just woken from a very strange dream on the couch.

 

On the good side, the weather is very mild here so I know I’m very lucky in that regard. Some parrots are feeding on my back lawn at the moment. There’s a breeze and I can see the trees swaying outside the window.

 

 I’m sorry you have the CPTSD too. It really is a pain isn’t it. I wish it could just disappear. But it does seem to be a lifelong thing where you adjust and make improvements over time, rather than something you necessarily completely eliminate. I think one thing it gives is compassion for others and maybe that is part of why you are so understanding towards animals like Brucie who haven’t had an easy life. I often feel a connection with animals that I find harder to find with people. It is easier somehow to trust the relationship with an animal in my experience.

 

Take care and wishing for a cool change in the weather for you soon 🙏

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi ER,

 

Sorry for the delayed response but I've been having computer problems from the heat!  We've been at around 40 degrees for the last couple of days, not cooling down at night, and another day of it tomorrow before it finally cools a little bit... when I was younger I used to look forward to summer, in Sydney the jacaranda trees would bloom and summer meant happy days at the beach - but the temperatures never got to anything like 40 degrees.  I remember finding 30 degrees a very very hot day back then.

 

Poor kitty is lying spread out on either the kitchen or bathroom floors, whichever is cooler!  This prolonged heat is exhausting for everyone.  I retreated to the library this morning for some aircon and it was pretty much packed with people doing the same thing - if only they had a cafe there as well!

 

I'm sorry you're feeling poorly - in my experience stress flares up absolutely everything in the body.  It's just the worst thing, so I can imagine going through the DSP application process is enough to have your body in pain and your brain giving you stress dreams!  I get anxiety dreams when I am stressed about something - dreams where I can't find my way to somewhere, or can't find the keys... when I wake up from them I feel exhausted.  I have found the best thing to avoid them is a stroll of some kind in the evening - a bit of exercise and fresh air is relaxing.  Is there anything you have tried that can help the pain/dreams while the DSP business is hanging over you?

Music helps me a lot too ,or getting lost in a movie.. I've found I have to distract my brain. 

 

Kitty is a mystery - he is not interested in playing at all!  I tried interactive toys with treats in them, nope.  Wand toys to chase, nope.  He seems to like just lying around and watching me or if I have the door open, whatever is outside.  I guess hot weather isn't helping.  I got out my How-To-Have-a-Happy-Cat book from the library again so I can re-read it!

 

Yesterday late I went to the local Woolies to get some food items, I had a gift card and needed to pay some also by cash.  Well I messed up the transaction in peak time when everyone was there after school/work and had to get an assistant to sort it out.  It was complicated and took some time and the woman staff member was so good humoured about it!  When she was done I asked for the store manager, who turned out to be a very young woman, and I told her how marvellous this lady had been.  We had quite a nice chat about how she found so many customers so cranky and rude.  Anyway we had a laugh and I hope it has done some good for the staff member who helped me.

 

I hope your pain eases soon somehow.  I can image the stress with the DSP.  Are you waiting on further medical/psychological reports?  Is there anything nice you can do to try to relax yourself in the meantime?  The weather where you are sounds nice and so does the nature around you.  

 

I could go for a swim here in the early evenings but I always feel too exhausted from the heat.  This is a real heatwave so I just have to stay quiet but it gets boring.

 

Any friend or friends nearby you can see to get out and away from your worries?  A cuppa with a friend at a cafe can be a real treat.  Do you have any pets - they can be so comforting.

 

Sending warmest (I shouldn't have used that word during a heatwave!!! ) wishes from us here and hope you can feel a bit better soon.  Let me know how you are going.

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Hanna,

 

Thank you for your kind thoughts and keeping in touch. The heatwave you are going through sounds awful. I too remember looking forward to summer when I was younger when it didn’t seem to get so hot as often as it does now. I’m lucky to live in a cooler region now, but even here the climate is drying. I can see areas of forest that used to be quite lush that are really struggling. In one area almost every tree is affected. You can see most of the trees have largely died off but are trying to put out some new growth. They are definitely trying to adapt to changing climatic conditions.

 

A stroll in the evening sounds like a really good thing to do. I live in a safe town here and strolling alone, even at night, is pretty safe. It can be beautiful down by the river. Sometimes it is so still down there and the moonlight reflects off the water. There can be frogs, owls, possums and various insects at night too. I am getting bouts of illness at the moment where I am not well enough to walk some days. Right now I’m on the couch again where I have slept this afternoon. The area around my liver is inflamed and painful. I do have some things that help me. This morning I was watching YouTube videos on photography as I love photography. That helps distract me from the anxiety and depression.

 

 I wonder if Bruce will want to play more when it cools down. I imagine it will take some time to get to know him and the things he likes to do. I have known a few cats and they have certainly varied in their personalities and behaviours. I still remember an elderly cat I looked after and I would do some yoga stretches on the floor and he liked to join in with stretches even though he was arthritic. He was deaf and had a very loud meow. I don’t think he knew how loud he was. He liked to wake me up with that meow at 5am!

 

 I have psychology and GP reports for the DSP now. I’m also seeing a new GP in the city soon who is more knowledgeable about one of my medical conditions as well as PTSD. The current GP has not followed the required Centrelink format for the report even though I gave him the template for it. So I’m not sure whether to go with his report or ask the new GP to do one? I wish the process was straightforward.

 

 I do have a couple of friends here. I had coffee with one a few days ago which was really nice. We went to a coastal cafe. I have another friend here struggling with similar health issues to myself and should get in touch with her as haven’t seen her in a while. I find it hard at times when I feel so ill. It’s a real effort to do things but contact with people can definitely be helpful.

 

Do you find having some cold showers helps on the hot days? I understand about not wanting to do much or go out.

 

No, I don’t have any pets at the moment but have certainly been thinking about it. I do have many birds visiting my garden and possums who galumph over the roof at night.

 

Very best wishes to you and Brucie xx

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi ER

 

Sorry I haven't been here, we had such a hot day today it just got too much and then a massive storm which has gone on this afternoon for hours with cyclonic winds, so I haven't been at the computer!

 

I like the sound of the deaf cat with the loud meow!  Bruce has a very soft meow and very soft purr, it's hard to hear.  He's been hiding under the sofa for most of the day due to the heat and then the storm.  It's evening and he's only just come out; I was starting to worry he'd stay there all night!

 

It sounds pretty where you live.  I saw a new GP quite recently, a very pleasant young guy from Canada and he wants to move to somewhere a bit south of Perth - partly because he likes that area and partly because it's easier to fly to Europe from Perth.  It's not often I come across Canadians moving to Australia & I wished I'd asked him why he was, but we got talking about other things.  It's nice to see someone as pleasant as him doing medicine and becoming a general practioner, he seems a very approachable doctor, just what is needed!

 

It sounds like you are getting all your documentation for the DSP together well, so that's good and might ease some of the stress you've been under.  Nice that you caught up with a friend for a coffee too.  I have been grounded the last two days simply because of the heat, it's really been bad with humidity around 90 percent, so I honestly haven't been up to doing anything much!  I hope the stressful dreams are easing up for you.

 

I have a DVD of choreography by Bob Fosse who did Chicago and All That Jazz - I love dancing and I just love the choreography in those musicals!  The movie versions are on Utube but the documentary is the Broadway versions and wow, those dancers are amazing!  The coordination and timing is awe-inspiring!  I like that it's just danse segments from his various shows.  I want to get the Michael Jackson one that's available as well.   I was also watching my Woodstock DVD (you can see how I have been amusing myself being stuck indoors during the heatwave!) - I still love those 1970s clothes and people and musicians!

 

We had some trouble here last night, there is a couple living in these units who are on drugs and they steal items from the local area - from people's homes - and hock them for cash.  They tried to break into a neighbour's unit last night and I thought I heard people outside my unit late last night and thought I was imaging it until kitty starting hissing & I realized someone was outside.  Turns out it must have been them, so that was lucky that kitty let me know someone was there. 

 

I am planning to finally get out tomorrow and meet a friend at a cafe near here that's outdoors for lunch - it's been too hot for days to do much at all so that will be a nice change!

 

Do you listen to classical music at all, or what type do you like to listen to?  I like anything from 60s and 70s music to opera.  I have ordered a couple of nice sounding piano cds from Ebay - I still love playing cds and I have two players and I mostly have music playing whenever I am at home, I love it!

 

Sorry this is so late - heat and storms today have got in the way!!!  So much cooler now and the rain was much-needed.  There are trees dying everywhere in this area, so it was interesting to hear that you have the same problem there - it's lack of rain and heat here - but some places look terrible now with all the trees dead.  There is a lovely picnic area near a beach here and the council has had to remove almost all the shade trees because they've died and then the branches start falling off and the trees become dangerous.

 

I hope you have a pleasant and restful evening!  Best wishes from me and kitty!

 

 

 

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Hanna,

 

The new GP sounds lovely. I have met some lovely Canadians. Many years ago I had some Canadian friends living in Australia who were getting married. They invited me to their wedding in Canada. I was able to stay with their families over there and was in British Columbia for 5 weeks. It is a stunningly beautiful place with mountains on a scale just not seen here in Australia. It was winter when I was there but I was in what is the warmest part of Canada during winter. The daytime temperatures were mostly around 6 to 7 degrees, but one day it even got up to 15 degrees, so really not that cold. Other parts of the country get extremely cold such as Montreal where it can get down way below zero.

 

Yes, the documentation is coming together. I'm prepared for a possible initial fail which I am told often happens with the DSP. Apparently many people fail two or three times before they get it. There is an appeals process or otherwise you can do a whole new application down the track. I am trying to just take it one step at a time.

 

That's wonderful you love dancing! It is amazing watching skilled dancers. Much was sad about Michael Jackson's life but he did have impeccable dance skills. I saw footage of him tap dancing when he was probably in his late teens and his timing was perfect and it looked like the most natural thing in the world to him. I think probably all of us would benefit greatly from dancing and we probably don't do it enough. It is really good for the soul.

 

I'm so sorry about the trouble you've had. I am very lucky where I live now as crime is very low. But in the city I had similar experiences to you where I was living in units and there were drug deals, drug busts etc. My housemate and I did get broken into one time by people connected with a drug house down the road that was later raided by police. One of the last places I lived the police were called regularly to the houses behind us. Early one morning a drug affected guy climbed over the fence and was right outside the granny flat I was living in. I instinctively knew to lay low and stay indoors. He was so out of it he actually seemed kind of harmless. But it is unsettling. It would be so wonderful for you to find somewhere without that stuff going on. It's nice to know kitty is there and instinctively aware of what's going on as animals so often are.

 

I hope you really enjoy catching up with your friend for lunch today! That should be lovely and a break from being stuck indoors for so long.

 

I actually listen to all kinds of music. I love music from all different parts of the world. I have a lot of folk and world music from many different places as well as CDs in almost every other type of music. I love pretty much all musical genres. I occasionally listen to some classical music. My favourite classical music is usually from the Baroque era, so people like Bach and Vivaldi. I have Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and some of his concertos. I have a CD of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. But I haven't listened to those in a long time so you are giving me thoughts about doing that.

 

There has been thunder here from the early hours of the morning. While that's stopped at the moment the sky has some stormy looking clouds in it. I was really hoping it would rain for the garden but that hasn't happened. That's really sad about the trees dying in your area too. It is concerning.

 

I do hope you have a wonderful day and very best wishes to you and kitty too!

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi there ER

 

We have quite a lot of interests in common!  I would absolutely love to go to Canada and British Columbia must be stunning!  It's on my bucket list... sigh.  How fantastic you went there!  Was it somewhere you would like to live if you could, or was it somewhere nice to vist but you prefer here?  

 

I'm glad you're getting the application for DSP under way.  And how good is that, that we both love music and I love all sorts from 60s and 70s rock n roll to almost anything classical and i love blues and jazz - so pretty much all music.  I just got a cd from Ebay of Andreas Scholl singing Vivaldi and it's divine!  I tend to play what suits my mood - sometimes I love very out-there rock n roll and sometimes when I want something soothing, it'll be something like the Vivaldi.  I just love the stereo sound on my car cd player and hope to get a better sound system for home eventually - I have to save up - and yes, it's a worry here with the druggies stealing.  I'm sorry you had that experience as well.

 

Brucie was quite distressed last night and kept me awake a lot - we had such hot weather and then a storm that was almost cyclonic and it terrified him - he hid for hours under the sofa - and I think he was disturbed for much of the evening.  It's hard not knowing his background - so many things scare him - loud noises etc.  I watch Jackson Galaxy the cat guy on Utube - he can be quite informative!

 

I think tomorrow is supposed to be much cooler, hooray.  It would be nice to have it cool enough to go for a good walk!  I've been missing that, the humidity has been so bad this summer.

 

Do you have any favourite instruments that you like to listen to?  What instrument do you wish you had learnt to play?  For me it's definitely the piano - I so wish I had learnt that when I was younger!  Did you ever watch the movie Shine?  It was sad but it did show the immense work that goes into being a superb pianist. I watch Rafal Blechacz on Utube and he is amazing.  

 

I chat with a friend in another state who has a utube channel - she uploads rare movies but she has huge problems with the copyright and often they get blocked.  I admire her expertise with the technical side of things - I wouldn't have a clue how to do all that.  She's put me onto a few good movies though - one I loved was Maudie, about a disabled Canadian woman artist - I wonder if you have seen it, having been to Canada?

 

I must be off to get some dinner and feel the resident feline!  I hope you have a good evening.  Lovely to chat about things like music and Canada!

 

 

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Hanna,

 

 I think Canada would be a very liveable place, but I think I’m still happy for my permanent home to be here. On a ferry to Vancouver Island I could see little cottages nestled in forest on the many small islands on the way there. It looked idyllic. But the wilderness there has what to me seem like greater risks, such as bears and cougars. Here we have snakes but they really don’t worry me as I’ve seen them many times, know their behaviour and it’s easy to take care to avoid stepping on them or bothering them. My Canadian friends told me all the steps they have to go to when camping to avoid bears, including never sleeping with food in their tent or even having any food smells that may have gone into their clothing. I’m happy to go bushwalking here alone but would probably be scared to there. It’s a very big and diverse country and I only saw the area around Vancouver. I could live there for a short time but I think I would be drawn back here. It’s almost 30 years ago that I visited there. I found the people I met very friendly.

 

 I think maybe I would have liked to learn the violin as a kid. I did buy a second hand one years later and taught myself a bit. But it does stay with you more easily I think as a skill if you learn it as a child. No, I have never actually seen the movie Shine. I should watch it one day. I have not seen Maudie either which I just watched the trailer for on the internet. I can see it is set in Nova Scotia, another part of Canada I’d love to visit. It look like a really nice film.

 

 I’m really glad you are having the cooler weather today. I hope that makes Bruce feel better too. He sounds like a sensitive kitty. Yes, it would be lovely if you can go for a walk.

 

It’s just after 5am here. I have woken many times in the night feeling very ill. I know it’s linked to my liver disease but the doctor wouldn’t run liver tests the last time I saw him. I’m trying to keep my spirits up but I’ve just had a bit of a cry as it is an ongoing struggle and it’s so hard to get any help. I’m sleeping on my couch as it is cooler downstairs and with the screen door open I can feel a nice breeze.

 

I hope you and Brucie have a lovely day today 😊🐱🌼🌸

Hanna3
Community Member

Hi ER,

 

I'm sorry you're feeling unwell - I think with liver disease that would make you feel nauseated?   It would certainly be unpleasant - I hope by the time you read this you might feel a bit better.

 

The violin would be hard! I love watching orchestras playing - I was watching one the other night and the violinists' eyes flicker consitantly from the conductor to the violinist each side of them to back to the conductor.  I used to sing in a choir and I remember how quickly we had to glance from the music to the conductor and back again, and always listen to the singers around us at the same time.  All this musical stuff certainly is a good brain work-out!  They say the best things for your brain are either doing music or learning a foreign language.

 

Canada sounds a wonderful place to visit, I wish I had got there and to the USA but in my youth everyone from Australia went to the UK and Europe.  Then I got busy with work and didn't manage to get away overseas that far again - I got to places like Thailand and also Polynesia - I lived for a year or so in Samoa which was a wonderful experience.

 

I had one of those days where I had to do a big supermarket shop, I had run out of a lot of items and it took ages as the shops were crowded and then getting it all back to the car and then back into the kitchen again.  I had a light lunch at an  outdoor cafe on the way home as I was tired and it's lovely and cool and rainy today (what a welcome change!) & it's so nice to sit in the cafe and look out over the sea on overcast days. 

 

Brucie had his first proper plays with a wand toy last night, hooray!  A few minutes of play and he's pretty much tired out.  I think the cooler weather today suits him too.  It's going to be a slow burn with this boy to get him fully comfortable but that's OK.  

 

The drug dealing neighbours are moving out - apparently the Housing provider had so many complaints from the public as well as here about their stealing (the police were there constantly as they were breaking into nearby homes) - so that is a huge relief!  I wonder what happened to them both to cause the terrible addiction to drugs.  

 

I haven't achieved much today except do the shopping and have a lunch out!  I am reading a very good book on self-confidence - I never had much and this book has some very helpful advice - also a very good book about mothers who can't love - mine was like that and it's very helpful.  I tend to read these while I play beautiful music on the player!  I like evenings with no television, playing music is soothing.

 

Just a short one tonight as I don't have much news and I seem to have been running behind all day... it's wonderful to have it overcast and cool, apparently it's going to get hot again later in the week but I like it like this!

 

Sending healing gentle thoughts your way and hope after the rest you will feel better.... sorry I am not there to get you a cuppa and have a chat - typeface is never quite the same!  hugs from me and Brucie