Defeating the Purpose

Alisha - Invisible FI don’t know how many of you think about your PURPOSE. I try not to – it depresses me. In fact, the thought of it depressed me for 3 years so now I avoid it. One of our fabulous FCK bloggers, Alisha Nurse from The Invisible F, has been thinking “a lot of things about it.”

Your Life is Worth More than you Know

As always I am thinking about purpose. A lot of things about it.

I don’t know if the same is true for anyone else who has walked in my shoes, but every time I have seriously considered suicide or acted towards it, I always wondered what the world would be like without me. I say world, but I mean what would it be like for the people in my world to not have me anymore.

I always felt my existence had been meaningless.

And while I still struggle with this to a great degree, I’ve realised something imperative.

I’d always thought without me life would just go on. The people who love me would mourn but eventually life would carry on as it does. I don’t think I’ve made any significant contributions to the world to not be forgotten. Not yet anyway.

Years ago, I visited my home country from which I’d migrated. When it was time to leave, I was surprised at how my little sister wept. She went to school inconsolable. I left and later found that she had cried herself so sick, the school telephoned to ask for a relative to pick her up. I was moved to tears and overwhelmed. This was an important moment for me.

The power of love

When my half-sister was born I was indifferent to her due to no fault of her own. That’s actually putting it mildly. She had been welcomed into the world with loving arms, whereas I’d been told I was an unwanted child. As I grappled with trying to survive a childhood riddled with fear and numerous problems, I showed my sister little love and expected none in return.

But my God, she loved me. And she loved me so much that I couldn’t understand. She loved me even when I didn’t love her back.

I didn’t deserve it. But such is the power of love, it turned my cold heart inside-out, and shook me up. I couldn’t not love her back, my little sweet potato muffin.

Now she loves me and I love her.

When I almost went to my death my sister didn’t know. When she found out again she wept again. And I understood how I had hurt her. I know that had I been successful, it would have hurt many loved ones. But I felt that if I did pass on it would have impacted on my sister’s life in some great way. I am actually convinced it would have altered her life. People close to my sister have before told me of how she dotes on me and is influenced by me. I didn’t know.

I say all of that to say no matter how insignificant we think we are and our existences may be, to someone we are so special, that a world without us would break them.

We struggle, yes we do. But if ever we venture down to the path of death we must know it’s not only our lives we take. We are likely taking someone else’s.

Be encouraged.

If you feel suicidal, please know that you are not alone and you do not have to walk that road alone. Reach out. There are some numbers below that you can ring to get help.

Need help?

In Australia, call 13 11 14 Lifeline Australia
In the USA, call 1 800 SUICIDE or 1 800 273 TALK
In the UK, call 0800 068 4141
In New Zealand, call 0800 543 354

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A Life of PURPOSE

In 2008, I hit depression and it hit me back – in fact, it sucked the air out of my lungs, swept my legs out from under me, vacuumed my head of any reasonable thoughts and sat me, quite firmly, on my arse! Supposedly, this was all brought on because I was working full-time in the casino (an intrinsically depressing place at the best of times), while studying part-time for my law degree.

Anyway, at the time, I thought it was because I had no PURPOSE – I was stuck. I had 3 years to go with my degree. I had a mortgage. I couldn’t really look for a meaningful change in career quite yet.

I stuck it out (with a couple of extended pauses in there) and graduated with Honours (just HAD to put that in here!) at the end of 2010. I thought that the noble profession of law would be my PURPOSE.

Well, I only got to practice for one month before my body said: “Tee Hee, ready for the next hurdle?”

So, here I am.

Under legislation, I am not allowed to practice unsupervised for 2 years, but it seems that I can’t work for some-one because I can’t be relied upon for scheduled work days/times. My employer has been very considerate and co-operative in regards to my condition. We have tried different combinations (eg: 3 hours x 3 days per week in the afternoons, working on the weekend when there are no distractions or noise, working late at night when I seem to be less distracted) however none of these have worked on a consistent basis. I cannot envisage how I can maintain employment with this thing called FIBROMYALGIA.

So, once again, I am confronted by what my PURPOSE might be…

Getting up at a ‘normal’ hour is mighty difficult when there is no reason to be up at that time. Sitting on the couch until some-one can pick me up to take me out is hardly meaningful. Scheduling when to shower so I have enough energy to walk to my doctor’s appointment is not inspiring. Playing with my nieces and nephews will not change the world.

Now, that’s it. My psychologist and I have chatted about this topic. She said maybe my legacy would be via my nieces and nephew? But, to me, that’s not good enough – I want to do something big. I NEED to do something worthwhile (not that the kids aren’t worthwhile). I want to DO something, like discover penicillin or change laws.

Right now, my entire being seems dedicated towards making people aware of the word FIBROMYALGIA – it is my theory that if we can get the word out there, people will start asking about what it is…THEN we can start spreading information.

The Visible ButterflyThat’s part of the reason I have started some of my awareness projects: the intention behind the VISIBLE Army was to have everybody upload their photos to their profile pictures so that friends (and friends of friends) would start seeing the Word. header

With our THUNDERCLAP, I really don’t expect (although I’d really like it if) everyone uploaded the cover photo attached to the Thunderclap message but, even if they don’t, at least, the Word will be spread to as many people as possible. (Have you supported and/or promoted our Thunderclap yet?)

FCKI have recently started FCK: a directory of Bloggers who educate, support, enlighten, inform, inspire and motivate people about and with Fibromyalgia. Yes, the logo may be confronting and controversial (most people can’t help but add a ‘U’) but I think it’s about time we start ‘branding’ our awareness campaign. We NEED to stand out! We NEED people to take notice. We NEED people to ask what it is. So, I’m hoping that as the directory grows and more people share the link, more people will see the banner and actually ask about it.

I guess we all need a purpose…

Dream the Impossible Dream


As kids we dreamt of being astronauts, professional athletes, actors and race car drivers. I dreamed of being an actress, then a maths teacher, then Prime Minister. Most of Australia’s Prime Ministers had been lawyers – humanities and legal studies here I come.

I kinda messed up in my final high school year (I discovered boys! and forgot to study) so my plans were postponed. So after working in hotels, in a casino, on cruise ships and then back to a casino (phew! that was a quick 15 years!), I got my act together and started law school at the age of 34.

Me (Hee! Hee!) after being sworn in by Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce

It took a while but, at 40, I was a practising lawyer. The dream was becoming reality (although Prime Minister was still a while away)

Halfway through my degree, I was hit (HARD) by depression but it seemed to be under control (after many an experiment with meds) by the time I had a full-time job. However, within a month, I was having trouble getting through a full day, it was difficult to walk to the post-office and then walk back up the stairs to work, and my hands were killing me by lunchtime. Every day was a new day in pain. I had had intermittent pain and fatigue for quite a while but this was new!

Terrified of what was happening, I called the multitude of doctors in my medical team that I had acquired over the previous 4 years. Nine months later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and all my dreams felt distant and unreachable. I couldn’t maintain a regular work week, much less strive to be anything more than healthy. Intensely competitive by nature, the defeated feeling that resulted was new to me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see how I could succeed at my career, having a family or even staying healthy when I was constantly fighting an unrelenting condition.

“Small steps,” my doctor prescribed. Ha! Didn’t my doctor know that I was an overachiever – I was ALWAYS the best at whatever I did! Small steps don’t work for me. It has been hard not to get upset and discouraged, and most of the time I’m not (although this past week with medication changes is killing me!), but it’s really slow progress. But I am NOT giving up! I will have to modify how my dreams fit into my reality (and perhaps Prime Minister is now a little out of reach!) but being a really good lawyer who advocates relentlessly for her clients is still reachable.

I couldn’t and still can’t stand the thought of giving up because then I’d lose, and I can’t lose. It’s not my nature. Our dreams form and evolve around our life experiences, but it’s what we overcome to reach our dreams that define who we are and how we’re remembered.

Have you modified your dreams? What dreams are you still chasing despite your diagnosis?

My Own (little) Awareness Day Campaign

The day started with a doctor’s appointment to get a new medical certificate for Centrelink (yes! I’m still on Sickness Allowance and not Disability). I remember my list of things to tell the doctor – and, FINALLY, I remembered to take my postcards.

I left 10 in the reception area.

The pharmacist is now Fibromyalgia Aware!

The off to the Chemist to fill my prescriptions. Guess what I  left there?

And then it was off to get acupuncture! (insert YIPPEE!) Being slightly early, and incredibly organised (for once), I stopped in at the printer next door and had some posters printed into A3 size.

Paul (the acupuncture dude) in reception with his postcards

Now back to get acupuncture, and feeling very pleased with myself. Paul, my acupuncturist, allowed me to leave some postcards in a prominent position.

My campaigning continued as I skipped merrily on my way home.

At the party suppies store...

At the Op shop

At the chiropractor's office...

So, now I am feeling incredible smug (and tired!) as I turn East Bentleigh PURPLE!

P.S. You may have noticed my badge on my profile picture. You can get one (I can’t work out how to make it a widget) HERE!

10 Reasons To Increase Fibromyalgia Awareness

  1. As we all know, it takes some people years and years to find out what is wrong and finally be diagnosed. If everyone knew all about fibromyalgia, then people could be diagnosed earlier. There would be  less of those depressing years of searching for answers.
  2. Sufferers will feel less alone – they will see posters and information booklets EVERYWHERE, giving them tips on how to cope.
  3. Doctors will become more interested in our condition and start investigating (and keeping up to date with) the newest medications and treatments, rather than ‘It’s Fibromyalgia – there’s nothing I can do.’
  4. Medical researchers and scientists will be more interested in finding a cure! Nobody wants to spend their time looking for a cure for something that no-one has heard of, they all want to cure the illnesses that people know about!
  5. We will no longer have to answer questions such as ‘Fibro-my-WHAT?’, ‘Fibromyalgia? What on Earth is that?’ or ‘Is that even real?’ No more long difficult explanations of the never-ending symptoms.
  6. People may even become more understanding! Relatives and friends will understand why you don’t feel up to partying. Employers understand why you have limitations and will be able to give you suitable arrangements because they will know what they are dealing with.
  7. Advertising companies will realise that there are a LOT of us and will design fibro-friendly products such as ride-on vacuum cleaners, ergonomically designed car seats, etc.
  8. More support groups will be formed as a result of more people realising that they have fibromyalgia.
  9. More people will donate money to research to find new treatments and… dare I say it… maybe even a cure!
  10. Because it makes you feel good about yourself!! You aren’t just doing this for yourself; we are doing this as a TEAM EFFORT! We need to reach as many people as possible to make this a success.

Motivational Growth Spurt

Last night, I planned my return to work, my strategy for cleaning the house, where I would do yoga, Pilates and hydrotherapy; and my day with Z. (I’m sure I planned some other things, too, but I’ve forgotten now.)

Between last night and this morning, I ran a marathon, swam an ocean, climbed Ayers Rock, won The Biggest Loser finale, did 100 sit-ups, 100 squats and 100 push-ups…Or, at least, it feels like it! (You guys know what I mean!)

What I want to know is: how do I realign that motivational spurt (I seem to get it at about 8pm each evening) to fit in with my new (doctor’s orders) regime. I really, really want to do all of these things but, right now…I’m just SO tired!

May all of the Challenging Mountains in your Life Crumble into Mole Hills

Having been referred to this blog by 400 Days Til 40 via the Fibro Fighter Award and being inspired and motivated, I just had to re-post it for you:

337 Days ’til 40: Climbing the Mountains in Our Lives

We all have them, challenges in our lives that feel as big as a mountain. Sometimes the only way to face the challenges in our lives is to climb the mountain! But HOW do we cope with challenges in our lives? Are we able to rise to the occasion or do we crumble, frozen in fear and unable to cope?

If you have a life devoid of challenges, I would wonder if you are indeed living life to its fullest. Almost all of us experiences challenges of some sort. The measure of our character is determined not by the amount of challenges in our lives, but by the strength of our morals when we react to the challenges that present themselves in our lives. Do you find that you view life’s trials with a healthy attitude? Is your cup half empty or half full?

I find that the attitude I bring to the challenges and trials I face in life creates and reinforces a response cycle in my life If I have a negative feeling towards challenges, I will not behave positively when trials arise. Perhaps I will be grumpy, irritable, and mean. This will affect the reactions of those around me. Their reactions to my bad attitude will probably not be favorable. These people will respond to me in a negative way, reinforcing my belief that challenges are HORRID.

Conversely, if I have a wonderful attitude towards challenges and trials and I believe they are a great opportunity for personal growth and reflection, the cycle changes. My positive attitude towards these moments of adversity are met with excitement. I understand that the trials are a great opportunity for collaboration and growth. I reach out to my colleagues for genuine engagement in order to creatively and effectively address the issues. We work together to find appropriate solutions. When we are finished, we have a strongly bonded group of people who are proud of our accomplishments. This reinforces to me that challenges are good.

Ultimately, we are all in control of the way we respond when we are asked to climb mountains. Often we unwittingly make our mountains larger by responding in negative ways to the challenge of the climb. When we take a moment to pause and change our attitude towards the challenge of the climb we have allowed ourselves to dramatically alter the outcome our response naturally breeds. Our positive attitude will result in positive personal growth.

Today, 337 days ’til 40 I will strive to remind myself that the mountains we have to climb are NOT the hardest challenges in our lives. The hardest challenge is our personal reactions towards trials and adversity. I will work to climb the mountains of my life with an attitude of acceptance, understanding, and a thirst for deeper knowledge of myself and others. I will remind myself that when I accept and embrace challenges with excitement and anticipation I am rewarded with the gift of personal growth.

May all of the challenging mountains in your life crumble into small mole hills as you smile and celebrate the learning opportunities. 🙂

~400daystil40

The Purpose of Life is a Life of PURPOSE

– Robert Byrne

In 2008, I hit depression and it hit me back – in fact, it sucked the air out of my lungs, swept my legs out from under me, vacuumed my head of any reasonable thoughts and sat me, quite firmly, on my arse! Supposedly, this was all brought on because I was working full-time in the casino (an intrinsically depressing place at the best of times), while studying part-time for my law degree.

Anyway, at the time, I thought it was because I had no PURPOSE – I was stuck. I had 3 years to go with my degree. I had a mortgage. I couldn’t really look for a meaningful change in career quite yet.

I stuck it out (with a couple of extended pauses in there) and graduated with Honours (just HAD to put that in here!) at the end of 2010. I thought that the noble profession of law would be my PURPOSE.

Well, I only got to practice for one month before my body said: “Tee Hee, ready for the next hurdle?”

So, here I am.

Under legislation, I am not allowed to practice unsupervised for 2 years, but it seems that I can’t work for some-one because I can’t be relied upon for scheduled work days/times. My employer has been very considerate and co-operative in regards to my condition. We have tried different combinations (eg: 3 hours x 3 days per week in the afternoons, working on the weekend when there are no distractions or noise, working late at night when I seem to be less distracted) however none of these have worked on a consistent basis. I cannot envisage how I can maintain employment with this thing called FIBROMYALGIA.

So, once again, I am confronted by what my PURPOSE might be…

Getting up at 6.30am (doctor’s orders) is mighty difficult when there is no reason to be up at that time. Sitting on the couch until my mother can pick me up to take me out is hardly meaningful. Scheduling when to shower so I have enough energy to walk to my doctor’s appointment is not inspiring. Playing with my nieces and nephews will not change the world.

Now, that’s it. My psychologist and I were chatting last week about this topic. She said maybe my legacy would be via my nieces and nephew? But, to me, that’s not good enough – I want to do something big. I NEED to do something worthwhile (not that the kids aren’t worthwhile). I want to DO something, like discover penicillin or change laws.

Hmmm…I do have an idea for a round thing that revolves on an axle and is fixed to another object to enable it to move over the ground?