Monday, January 8, 2018

And as soon as you're not a human be-ing, you're a human do-ing. - Brad Goodman


I've spent the last 6 months unemployed.
By choice.

This is unheard of for me.
I finished year 12 in 1989 and during those school years I worked at the local service station/corner store/produce store/takeaway shop on weekends while at school.  
I finished school and started work two weeks later at a video store in Toowoomba.  
I have never NOT worked.

In July I had a total mental breakdown.
Yes. I was not in a very good place at all.  Even doing the most menial tasks would stress me out.
Luckily for me I have an incredibly supportive husband and a fantastic group of friends and family who all rallied around me.  

"What in the name of shit have you been doing for the last 6 months?" I hear you wail.

For the first 2 months I applied for heaps of jobs with no response. I was interviewed 3 times but didn't get the jobs.  This stress of looking for work and the slow pulverizing of any self confidence I may have had buried quickly turned my nerves to over load.  It added to my negative thoughts that "there must be something wrong with me. I'm defective. I'm useless".
I started to sleep a lot and eat.... a lot..... 

On one particular day I was a mess. I was shaking and crying and thinking some very dark thoughts.
I rang my doctor but he was away so I took an appointment with the temp doctor. 
I will call him Dr Nick.



I went in. I was bawling and trembling and I told Dr Nick that I didn't think I wanted to live anymore. I told him that I needed help.  He sat there looking at me sternly with his arms crossed.
Blowing my nose and sniffing I told that I really needed to apply to a temporary disability pension. 
I explained that I just needed 3 months to get my head in order.
Still with arms crossed Dr Nick shakes his head. "No. No you don't qualify for that".
I burst into tears and stammered "Why?"
"Because your breakdown is related to your job experiences not directly related to your Bipolar".
I told him that I cannot deal with the stress of looking for another job and I need to be referred to a good psychiatrist.
"Would you say you are anxious?" He interrupted.
I looked at him incredulously and sobbed "Ummmm yes???!!".
He prints out a script and gives it to me and says "Just take these. There's a good psychologist upstairs just go see her". 
I was just too drained and exhausted to retaliate so I muttered "..mmm.kay" and walked out.
I went to the chemist and put in the script. 
The chemist came out to me and asked if I had used this medicine before.
I sighed that I didn't even know what it was.
"It's Diazepam. Valium. Sleeping Tablets." the chemist answered.

So let me get this straight. I went to a doctor and told him I was suicidal and his solution?
Give me a box of 50 sleeping tablets.
The people in the chemist must have thought I was mental. Here's this woman in an old stained t-shirt and shorts, hair everywhere, bright red puffy eyes and nose, dark circles under my eyes and I just start laughing in the shop. I mean cackling like a total loon. It was just so ridiculous.



I went home and had a big talk to hubby. aka My Big Hairy Angel.
We made calls to the bank and our My Budget people it was determined that we could afford for me to take some time off. Thank fuck for good budgeting. Yes it would be tight and we would go backwards a bit with our savings but ....................
========================================================

The last 4 months I admit I have spent a LOT of time sleeping.
I gave myself permission for the first time ever......
TO DO NOTHING.

HOWEVER

The anxiety ridden Vicki in my brain screamed at me that I was "wasting time" and I should be using this time to "declutter the whole house/paint the eaves/paint the walls/build a garden/sew 500 dresses" and on and on and on.  You see, I am a "project" person. 
I find it very hard to sit still and do nothing.
 TIME TIME TIME TIME YOU ARE WASTING TIME WASTING TIME.
This goes around around in my head.
I had written myself crazy long lists of all the things I felt that I had to do and then I would get so upset with myself if I couldn't do it.

So each day I set myself ONE task to do.
Monday - Wash socks and jocks.
Tuesday - Vaccum
Wednesday - Clean Bathroom
etc etc etc
I told myself I only needed to do that ONE thing. 
It was hard. 
I felt like I was letting Mick down if I didn't have the whole house scrubbed each day.
After all..... I'm not working so it's not fair I sit around and watch Netflix all day is it?!!
I read a couple of great self help books, I binge watched TV shows, I sewed, I listened to podcasts, I napped, and I told myself "it's ok".


I also did a 14 week Certificate IV in Ageing Support with the view to becoming a Personal Support Worker/AIN.  This was the best thing ever.   I absolutely LOVED going to class 2 days a week. I LOVED learning new things and doing assignments.  I LOVED meeting the incredible woman who did the course with me.  My teacher Dianna was just so wonderful.
This class was so incredibly cathodic for me.
I start my 3 weeks of full-time on the job experience on Monday.
I'm nervous/anxious/scared but also excited.
I've had to remind myself that if I do the 3 weeks and decide that this kind of work isn't for me ...
It's okay. It's fine. I gave it a crack and I met some fab funny people.



Why Aged Care?

I realised that what makes me happy is making others happy.
Not in a martyrdom or self sacrificing way.
I put on my Fancy Dress Disco each year. Yes to raise money for beyondblue but because I just love to help bring a night of joy and happiness to people.
I organise luncheons to get frocked up and eat cake because I love to bring people together and make them smile.
I makes me feel good. I makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So I figure, if I can work with people who are lonely, frail and unable to care for themselves then maybe I can bring a bit of light into their lives and make them feel good and there-fore make myself feel good too.

I realise it's not going to be all lavender sachets, Tabu perfume and Avon powder.
There will be poo, heart break and sadness too.
I'm not going in with rose coloured Ray-bans.

I expect to be exhausted. 
I've worked for the last 20 years as a desk jockey and am now going to be doing a very physical job.
I've never had to shower anyone, toilet anyone, change a colostomy bag or feed someone before.

I have a good feeling about it though.
It feels good to be going to a CARE industry. 

2018 is going to be a great year.
I feel it in me gutz.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 - Another epic year in the life of this blonde dumpy selfie lovin' dame.

JANUARY 

Saw the year in with my favourite people. Played The Mouth Guard Game but with a difference. We read X-rated erotic fiction.

Celebrated Chinese New Year in China Town. Fed a dragon a cabbage.

Celebrated Australia Day in true fair dinkum style in the pool eating twisties and drinking fruit cup cordial.

Went to see the amazing Sunny Coast Rude Boys at the Triffid and skanked until I nearly pulled a hammy.

FEBRUARY


Kimberly and Amy's fabulous Engagement Party.

Catch up with the gang from the OLD days.
Took my Father in-law Mick to see his crush Suzi Quatro in concert.

MARCH
ROCKABILLY REVIVAL

Donated plasma for the first time - AB NEGATIVE BLOOD = PLASMA GOLD

APRIL

Ladies Luncheon at Paddington Deli & Epicerie

Sheree's 40th birthday Great Gatsby Lawn Picnic

MAY

GERTIE Meet n Greet at Needlefruit.


JUNE

LADIES LUNCHEON - PLAID IN THE SHADE
I quit my job
Then I was fired from my new job.
Then my brain exploded into little pieces of grey and red goop.

JULY

Christmas in July party
AUGUST


GREAZEFEST WEEKENDER


Saw "My Dad Wrote a Porno" podcast live at The Triffid.

Mr Timmy visited from San Fran


Started my Certificate IV in Ageing Support with this bunch of amazing women.

SEPTEMBER

My favourite dirty ho Mz Lyndie came up from Melbourne to stay.

My annual FANCY DRESS DISCO supporting beyondblue




OCTOBER

SPOTLIGHT sent he a stack of awesome Gertie fabric !!!
Had a stall at the Rewind Mid-Century Garage Sale

Kate's Birthday Miss Halloween Pin Up Pagent Party.


NOVEMBER

Those Darn Sew and Sews Meet n Greet.

Lisa's birthday drinks at "Can you Keep a Secret?"


DECEMBER

End of Cert IV class training celebrations
Mick's work Masquerade themed Christmas party.


BOXING DAY BANQUET

R.I.P HARVEY POOKAH. 2001 - 2017

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

You’re trying to escape from your difficulties, and there never is any escape from difficulties, never. They have to be faced and fought.” - Enid Blyton

FORTY FIVE

FORTY

FIVE

How the hell did I suddenly become 45 years old?

I'm not going to lie to you.  The last 35 years has not been plain sailing. 
No sir.  

My first 10 years were pretty fricking great. Climbing trees pretending to be living with Moon Face in the Faraway Tree, building cubby houses, reading insane amounts of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Choose your Own Adventure Books, riding my bike and swimming.  
ALWAYS swimming at the Oakey Pool.
It all went kind of pear shaped around the age of 13.

 "Vicki on Xmas Day 1980. 8 years old. new togs and roller skates".


Of course it hasn't been ALL BAD. There has been some amazing adventures in my life. 
I wish I could remember more of them but alas, a diet that was mainly based on wine, cigarettes and bourbon has destroyed a vast amount of my long term memory.  All I can say is , thank god there was no social media or digital cameras.

My life definitely improved around 5 years ago when I gave up the turps for good. No more panic attacks of hyperventilating until I pass out and no more hallucinations and self harm.

HOWEVER



The last 2 years has been a struggle for this old blonde gal.  I worked in a job that was just utterly ridiculous in its treatment of staff when it came to work loads, pressures, bullying and gas lighting.
12 months of crying in the toilets, self harm, thinking I was going crazy (again) and eventually thoughts of suicide lead me to quit with no job to go to.  
This was something I have NEVER done.
I have always been of the mind set that you shut up, suck it up, stop ya whinging and get on with it.  
But it was too late. 
It completely destroyed my self esteem and sent my anxiety levels off the charts!
Couple this with seeing my father very quickly decline with dementia and then his death and now the guilt associated with "could I have done more?"

I very quickly got another job but unbelievably was fired after only a week because "I wasn't a good fit."
That was kind of the last straw for any self-love I may have had left and I fell inwards.



After about a month (and the incredible support of my husband, family and friends) I pulled myself up out of bed, whacked on some red lipstick and made a decision.

To study to work in Aged Care.  I enrolled and have started doing a Cert IV in Ageing Support with a view to work with dementia and eventually be a Diversional Therapist.
I am absolutely shitting myself. I have NO idea if I have made the right decision but at least I am heading in a direction.

After applying for numerous jobs (in the interim until my course and prac is finished ) and not even getting to interview stage OR worse getting to interview stage and not getting the job (even though I though I was a shoe in each time) I found that my nerves and self-esteem were just fucked. So the decision was made for me to take an extended break from working while I do my course, to focus on my study and to focus on ME.


It's funny.  Being 45.

I feel very odd.  Like I am floating.  I always knew who I was.  
I would go out all the time. Get frocked up. Dance. Party. 
I was a vintage rockabilly girl.
I feel like I am losing her.  
Like I don't feel like I FIT IN anymore.
I look at the gals on Instagram with their perfect vintage hair sets, tiny waists and incredible clothes and then look at myself.  I have gained a massive amount of weight, have chronic undiagnosed pain and rarely go out anymore because "I can't be arsed".
It's like I don't know who I am anymore.

BUT



I am not one to wallow in self-pity. Each day I make baby steps.  
I will NOT compare myself to the Instagram people (who I KNOW spent hours perfecting that look before taking 5000 photos before settling on that one).
 I will eat healthy food.  
I have started aqua aerobics again because the water is where I love to be.  
I will keep sewing a crazy amount of frocks that I may never wear just for the shear joy of CREATING.   
I have started to create an environment of greenery by buying pot plants to put around my house.  
I am listening to inspirational podcasts.  
I am LOVING doing my course and even though I am anxious about how I am going to go working in such a challenging job I know that I am a good person who will try my best.   

I don't know who I am at the moment.

But that's ok.

I'm Mz Vicki.

I'm Alive.

I am totally blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people.

I am grateful.

I am strong.