While Christmas and New Years are supposed to be a time for joy, celebrating with friends, giving, and receiving, for many it can be incredibly stressful, exhausting, and even lonely. Whether it is the pressures at work of getting everything done by Christmas, work Christmas parties, spending time with difficult relatives, having the perfectly decorated house, buying the best gifts for your kids and relatives, or perhaps even not having anyone to share it with, there are things we can do to take care of ourselves and those around us this silly season.
For some of us, the worst days of our lives are spent in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) or cancer wards, there either for ourselves or our loved ones. There are some heroes who have chosen to spend their days making those experiences the best they possibly can be for those of us who find ourselves there. A number of my friends are nurses, and after my last post Pondering death and what it all means I contacted two of them to ask them, quite simply, how the hell do they do it?
I don’t know why, but for the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about writing this article pondering death. I think it is the flippancy around COVID19 deaths bandied around by some leaders in the media but for whatever reason it has been niggling away. This can be a traumatic subject, so please take care when reading.
Last night I went with three male friends, two of whom wish to remain anonymous but all in our 40s and 50s, to work out our daddy issues on a pole in a free, 30-minute pole dancing lesson in the outskirts of suburban Brisbane, Australia. How did this happen?
I suddenly noticed my heart racing and my breath getting away from me. I looked down at the page I was writing on, one of those things I would do to amuse myself while waiting, and it was filled with illegible scribbles, and not the fully formed words I was used to putting down. The hairs on my arms were standing at full right angles to my skin, and I thought I was most likely in a cold sweat as I was freezing to touch. Holy crap! I was having a panic attack! Me. Right now. I had a friend from high school who had them, which is the only reason I knew what was happening.
Sometimes life has a way of teaching us lessons we didn’t know we needed to be taught. There are a lot of ways it can do this: through our relationships with friends and family, through natural and unnatural disasters, and through our pursuit of professional fulfilment… For me, some of my biggest lessons have come from my body, which has sent me the gift of a chronic, ‘incurable’ condition to battle for well over half of my life.
Ever since the video of George Floyd’s death and the rapid amplification of the #BlackLivesMatter movement the world over, I have been pondering the privileged whiteys who don’t believe in white privilege. NEWS FLASH! Everyone is racist. Everyone is judgemental. I don’t care who you are. I have been asked about whether Australia is a racist country when I have travelled in India, the Middle East, and Asia and my answer is always the same.
But shit really started to get serious; Now there isn’t a place it hasn’t been; They even gave it a shiny new name; Introducing… COVID19. While for many, the symptoms are mild; Their immune systems taking care of the rest; For an increasing and alarming number of people; This awful disease will result in death.