January 1, 2017

Your mind can play tricks on you

Happy New Years, everyone! I hope you enjoyed a safe and fun celebration.

Myself, I had a laugh and a bit of fun, but it was definitely not the night I had planned. Last night, my support worker came over at around 6:30. We tested out the pizza maker I got for Christmas from mum; it was amazing! Just before 9, we left for Dandenong to watch the fireworks and planned to head to Davey's afterwards. After getting out of the car at Dandenong, my support worker went to shut the boot, and as she closed it, she hit her head on it, and it started bleeding.

She was fine initially, so we stayed and watched the fireworks, but we headed off to Frankston Hospital soon after. Unexpectedly, the emergency department was dead, so we were in and out in under an hour. It turns out she had a cut, headache and a concussion, a trifecta! We decided to take a selfie at the hospital with her big ass band-aid to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Image description: Jono and a support worker at the hospital.

 
Following the hospital, we went home, and I was in bed by 11:30, but we reminisced on the night and had a few laughs. Recently, I've had some unexpected experiences with support workers. A couple of months back, I was stuck upstairs at Hoyts with a new support worker, and then last night, the incident with my worker. In light of these, though, I can always find the silver lining.

However, this is why I wanted to make a post...
Last night in bed, I was reflecting when I had a horrible thought - "Did I really do the right thing hiring this support worker?" Two things that came to mind was that she had cancelled a shift three weeks ago due to illness and last night when she hit her head. Both incidents were obviously unintentional, and those occurrences aside, she has been great. Despite knowing this, I still doubted myself for a second. And in the very next breath, I became upset at myself for even having that thought, no matter how brief it was.

Yes, I was disappointed that I didn't make it out for New Year's Eve, but it reminded me that sometimes I need to look at the bigger picture. I was safe and happy, and my support worker was going to be OK after being hurt. During the holiday seasons, I think about my dear friend Stuart. Stuart tragically passed away from cancer two and a half years ago. He left a wife and two kids behind, who I know miss him dearly, particularly during these times.

Last month, someone else I knew passed away from cancer, Julia Waston. Julia left a husband and four children behind, including a child with disability. She wrote a book about her battle with cancer. You can check it out here:

When small unexpected things happen, or things don't go as planned. I remind myself that I'm still lucky to live the life that I do.

The sad part is that I never truly believed I made the wrong choice hiring that support worker; it was just an unwanted intrusive thought. That leads me to think, though...if someone like me, a person who loves their life, can be confronted by intrusive thoughts, how do people who are struggling cope? How do those living in unfortunate situations, those navigating mental health issues, those struggling to make ends meet, how do they do it? We can never truly put ourselves in someone else's shoes. We never can totally understand someone's history, feelings and thoughts. We can, however, show empathy and kindness and use our privilege to help them the best we can.

If you are going through something, remember that it is more than OK to ask for help. Don't suffer in silence. If you feel comfortable, try reaching out to a close family member or friend, or maybe you'd prefer talking to a complete stranger or seeking professional help. Whatever works best for you, there are options out there.

These are some numbers you can ring:
Suicide Hotline: 1300 651 251
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Sometimes, the most challenging part is finding someone you can trust, but it can truly do wonders when you do.

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