As I posted on Facebook, yesterday I got trapped in my new car. I literally couldn't get out. My wheelchair was secured to the floor of the car and the boot wouldn't open to allow the ramp to deploy.
After being freed by the AA, who were amazing, I reflected on the emotional toll it took on me, even though I was in my own driveway with my friend Jude there for support. It was really quite scary. And given the prospect of freedom it offered me, I can't help feeling a sense of betrayal, especially as it was such a large investment of money.
Last week a colleague sent a link to this article on Task-Based Thinking (TBT) vs Outcome-Based Thinking (OBT). Briefly, its point was that TBT makes you less productive than OBT because the former leaves you thinking, "What do I need to do today?" instead of, "What outcomes do I want to achieve today?"
I read it, as I have hundreds of similar "be-more-productive" blogs, and found myself getting really pissed off. Why the hell do I need to be more productive? What's wrong with doing what needs to be done and feeling like that's enough?
Last Thursday I attended the Health Promotion Agency's video preview session for its refresh of The National Depression Initiative (depression.org.nz). The National Depression Initiative (NDI) "aims to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders by aiding early recognition, appropriate treatment, and recovery."
I was there as one of 15 New Zealanders who have shared their stories of living with depression and anxiety. For me, it was living with aggressive and abusive neighbours over two years (2011 and 2012) that created acute anxiety and prompted me to offer to share my story. But, in the course of doing so, I've come to realise that I've experienced both depression and anxiety many times over my lifetime.
I wrote the other day about my own experience of anxiety and my thoughts that we have emerged into an age of anxiety. While I tried to keep it light, it's a dark topic.
It has occurred to me since that one of the most healing behaviours for me, both during my period of acute anxiety and now as I still experience low-level but chronic anxiety is my ability to laugh. Laughing in the face of fear and dis-ease is challenging, but it has an incredibly positive effect.
I'm working with some folk on a project around anxiety and depression, sharing the story of the two years I spent living with hostile neighbours. It's made me wonder if we are living in an age of anxiety, because I meet a lot of people who struggle with it, as well as depression, to varying degrees.
Since doing this work, I've come to realise I've actually struggled with both for most of my life. Anxiety as a kid about being different, or Mum being late to pick up me up, thinking she'd died in a car crash (no "Running late" texts in those days). Depression as a teenager about, well, everything. Anxiety in my early 20s about living independently and getting my support needs met. More depression in my mid to late 20s about feeling isolated and not fitting in.
So, in the past couple of weeks, my unravelling has stopped. I've successfully returned to my usual muscle relaxant medication, so my anxiety has ceased and my co-ordination is back. I'm ten days into a four week holiday and I feel relaxed and unstressed. The archangels have been and gone, working a little magic.
The weather has been beautiful and I've spent many hours sitting on my deck, reading, drinking, eating and laughing with friends. I've even written a few more paragraphs of a book I started writing this time last year.
It's been so long since I last posted. I have almost forgotten how to do it. I just read a post I wrote five months ago, almost to the day. I can't quite remember the person who wrote it.
The last five months have been incredibly difficult. I took a part-time job, realised I was probably drinking a bit much and changed my muscle relaxants to a different sort, having read a book that said they were also good for addiction.
Nothing worked out particularly well.
Recently someone I was working shared that she was working on a three minute speech for a competition and was nervous about blanking and forgetting what she was going to say. I told her how I prepare to speak from my experience doing comedy. Yesterday she emailed to say she'd done well and got into the finals. Here's what I told her:
Most of my techniques are backed up by Pete Burdon and TJ Walker of Media Training NZ. In their e-book 1001 Ways to Wow the Media and Speaking Audiences, they say:
They disagree with me about rehearsing: