I guess time will catch up with us at any stage, I knew it would come eventually. Just a matter of, when?
I always knew that since being diagnosed with chronic illness things would eventually catch up and I’d slow down.
Cricket has always been a game that I’ve loved, and also hated. It taught me a lot, patience and pain, it’s like a cruel mistress. It’ll teach you about all the things you shouldn’t have done, every mistake and slip.
After finishing a season of cricket in 2018, I figured I was done but might try one more year. Summer 2018 rolled around and I started training, only to hurt my back and missed the majority of the first half of the season, I filled in one game to field and help the guys out. I had the taste for it again, while the days were long, hot and very tiring. Most of the time you’d be let down in some form, but other times you can end up with victory.
It wasn’t until I played a game shortly in the second half of the season, where I filled in as captain when I realised I’d be calling time on playing cricket ever again. While we won the game, the first for the guys in the season, hard fought and earned, and it was my first and only win ever as a captain. Standing in the outfield on a hot day, my body was calling it time, and we were both to an agreement that any games would no longer happen. Either from an illness, repeated injuries or lack of desire to play the game.
I still enjoy watching it, especially the long format.
There’s a lot going around the news about the Corona Virus, panic has set in, people are hoarding supplies. From toilet paper and pantry items, through to seedlings and live animals. It’s a bit insane. Am I worried? Not as much as everyone else, I think I’ve always been pretty resourceful. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, and I’m just content having food in my stomach regardless of what it is, when I’ve been at the point of having none.
I’ve even struggled as an adult when it comes to finances, after moving house in my late 20’s I spent every dollar I had moving, paying for connection fees, rent and bond. To the point, where I borrowed $20 and lived on cheese toasties for a week until my next pay day.
I haven’t been stockpiling things like most people, I’ve bought a few essentials. Mainly so if I go to the shop and the shelves are empty, I still have a backup plan. Yesterday I went to the chemist to get a script filled, and grab some extra of the medication I take daily. I wasn’t really due to buy some more, I still had another 2 weeks left but I thought if the shelves were also empty I have some time up my sleeve to find some more. They were almost empty, and it’s stuff that’s never been out of stock any time I go in.
The virus itself I’m not overly worried about, I do have health issues and it may hit me hard. But it’s nothing I can’t deal with, I think I’ve had worse cases of respiratory infections or colds. In January I had one that took quite some time to get over, my boss and I even joked I’ve probably already had Corona Virus and I fobbed it off as a usual cold due to my immune system. What I am worried about is congestion of the health system, while there are people who are panicking about food and supplies. They are likely the ones who will panic if they get sick and head to a hospital. The issue there is that we have a population of over 20 million and only 100,000 hospital beds available. These should be for the people who are at a high risk.
Given that a lot of the public outlets are being shut down, pubs, restaurants, cafes etc and left with only essential items (typical Australia made sure Dan Murphys was kept open as “essential”). I’m trying to think of ways I can keep myself occupied, I think work will slow down to some degree but we have enough to go on with. I could do some online short courses or write instead of just into my blog. I’m not sure what about, but most people just say “start writing”. It doesn’t matter what it is, just write. It’s also a good time to finally get some timber and start making stuff I guess. While it all costs money and I’m unsure on cashflow, I don’t think I’ll have too much of an issue. But it’s looking like things will be closed down for a while at least.
Earlier in the year I stepped down from my duties at a cricket club I’d played at for some time, I lost the love for a game that I’d played for a long time. I found no fun, no enjoyment. People’s attitudes were creeping in and it became toxic. Being a member of the committee meant more time doing stuff for the club rather than playing a game and enjoying myself. Eventually, I stopped enjoying myself, and when insults came from people during a game I simply had enough and walked away.
I sat with the idea of giving it up altogether, or moving to another club. A different environment. I had to be selfish for my own sake for once. So after many months of thinking it over I eventually shifted clubs.
New faces, new places, a whole lot of new everything. A new environment has been a breath of fresh air, I’ve enjoyed my cricket so far this year. I’m getting a lot more of a role which I wasn’t expecting, but also high expectations came when I joined that I would be doing a lot, so personally I don’t think I’ve fired yet. I’m hoping I can contribute more than I have to the team, I’m with a great bunch of guys, and there is a huge cultural difference to the previous one. Going from mostly white Australian players to having half the team from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka). They all have a different lease on the game. They have fun, they play hard and they are happy to lift other players, give them encouragement and advice.
I’ve even had some coaching (see: advice from a mate) on my batting. In the years of playing cricket at my last club with a paid coach I never got any. I got a few minutes with someone who isn’t a coach but I took their advice and I’m playing better than I have in years.
I’m looking forward to how much more I can do this year, even it’s a little bit.
Is it wrong that Im enjoying using a Mac for blogging? I mean, I hate the things but I have no idea how to use it so I can’t get distracted or fuck with anything else while I’m on it like I do with my pc. Maybe this is why uni students and writers use them, there’s nothing to have fun with on there.
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Every year “RU Okay?” day rolls around, and it’s the same old story. Everyone posts something on social media that they support mental health, and that we need to be more accepting of it. I noticed it go up, and at the end of the day, my phone wad dry as fuck. Not a single text, and it’s been like that for a year. I think once you tell people you have mental health problems, they cast you aside and treat you differently. I barely hear from anyone anymore, other than those who have always been there. To the point where I’ve culled most of these people off my social media, but haven’t noticed. Despite that they are trolling instagram or whatever 4 or 5 times a day.
It’s been shitty that most of these people have used me like a pitstop therapist. I never hear from them unless they have a problem and then they come flying back in like I’m going to accept it. I think thats everyones attitude towards me, because I don’t have any commitments like every one else, a partner, kids, house/mortgage to pay. They can come and go as they please with the attitude of “oh, that’s just Alex. He’ll be fine”, but that’s been changed over the past year, I’m not fine with it. I’m not a doormat, I’m not your therapist and I’m not your life guru to help you out. I made that decision to see a therapist to help grab hold of the things I couldn’t handle and maybe it’s time other people do too. While it’s a harsh lesson, I ignore phone calls, texts, messages from other apps. I don’t give people a reason to contact me by staying quiet. I have snapchat, but I only have 4 people on it, why would I let people send me snap after snap of useless shit I don’t care about when they can’t reply to a text message? Sending them to people gives them an opening to know I’m free for them to use me like that pit stop therapist again.
There are a lot of people around me who do both of these things, they treat me like a pitstop therapist, but also post about R U Okay day. But I never hear from them to check up how I am, considering that I’m quiet and I barely talk to anyone anymore. I have all of 5 people I speak to regularly and that’s pretty much it. These people don’t seem to practice a lot of what they preach, which is why I’m all slowly pushing them out and letting them do their own thing. But I’ll sit back and wait quietly until they contact me and they’ll know why when it comes time. I’m honest and I don’t have anything to hide, but I’m not going to seek people out if they’ve done something wrong. They can ask and I’ll tell them, but I don’t sugar coat it.
I certainly haven’t been okay the last 12 months, nothing has felt right, or in place. I’ve only felt out of place and struggling to find anything that would resemble normality within my life.
While I was in Scotland, I was trying to have myself a holiday. I can count the amount of holidays I’ve had on one hand in the last 10 years and still have some fingers left over. Some people don’t understand that it isn’t just a break from work, it’s a break from everything. The people, the day to day routine and stress that comes with it. And for me it was a break from those that used me as that pitstop when their problems arise. I had one friend who at least once a week would message me about her insecurities, or that her ex had contacted her, or because some other girl on Instagram was prettier. But I can’t help with those problems, and I’m not going to anymore. Despite that I’ve suggested she go and see a counsellor, offered to drive her there and wait and drive her back. Two years on, she still hasn’t been and continues to do nothing about them other than think that a magic anti-depressant is going to make everything better. You can’t make things better if you’re not going to put in the work.
My closest friend has finally seeked out help, and now I get the vibe that she loves it and should have done it sooner. If you’re the kind of person who thinks you need it, do it. Go regularly, take in things you want to work on, it’s going to suck. You’ll be torn down and built back up to the person you were meant to be.
In 2016, I made the decision to see a counselor. A holistic one at that, I didn’t want to go and see a psych who would just shove me on some kind of anti-depressants and peddle me out the door “come see me next week”, and then talk about my childhood.
The seed was initially planted after several heated arguments with friends, one suggesting I get some help. Some people can take that on negatively, but I can only see someone that genuinely cares about the person and their mental health.
I don’t see going to a counselor or psych because some may have mental health issues, that’s where a bad stigma exists. Some people use them for a career change and seek advice, advice with families and relationships. Not just all those who have a mental health issue.
Seeing a counselor was the worst, and the best decision I’d ever made. It taught me and gave me the tools I needed to deal with the past, present and future problems. It helped me be more mindful of what I’m doing and the things around me. Like how much plastic goes into landfill, how much ends up in the ocean and from that, I worked to have less general waste. Everything now goes into recycling or compost. I haven’t had any general waste in over 6 months. It’s also made me more mindful of the people I have around me in my life. But it also presented me with new issues, events and feelings I hadn’t dealt with before. But it’s certainly made things a rollercoaster ride with everything new, and even old experiences when it comes to managing them.
Prior to seeing the counselor, I’d had a relationship that had ended very badly. Badly enough that I had mentally checked out for about six weeks or so. There are only three or four events during that time that I remember. I know I barely ate and lost a lot of weight, and I don’t have any other recollections of what happened during that time. I do, however, feel guilty that the people I care about and consider close, sat by and tried to help someone that wasn’t aware they were being helped or even walking on the face of the planet.
I’ve never been into the conventional views of relationships, like the man going to work to earn and provide. Nor have I been the same of people’s views of having a successful life and relationship, be it marriage, kids, car, house successful job/ well-payed career.
I’d like to be happy with who I am, where I am, and what I do. Not measured by other people’s standards. Marriage, a house, and all that pressure externally from others hadn’t been in my mind until my last relationship. I miss that relationship because I could be myself, there were no fears for the future, wanting to marry her and all of the above weren’t pressure from the outside world. They were on my own terms, and I wanted to see the relationship and those involved flourish because the deserved happiness, as much as I deserve happiness too.
When you spend time with someone and get to know them, you fall in love with every part of them. You only want them to have endless happiness, to give them things that make them happy. For me it was also a want, to give her happiness, inner peace, and contentment.
I would have happily given her a house, not just for a place to live. But a place of peace and content. Something that could be built to our own morals, and hearts. A place for a garden, a place for peaceful activities. While I like gardening, I don’t have many options in a rental. But I know it was her form of relaxation, and meditation, an off switch when she needed it most. I would have loved that chance to give her that space. For me, designing a house is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s an off switch for me, even watching tv shows about architecture. I can immerse myself and be lost in it. A house with recycled materials, big jetty pylons, and blocks of concrete. Earthy tones and a warm feeling, big windows to bring outside into the house so you never feel complete shut inside, or outside. If it was at all possible, I’d have tried to get the land that I grew up on, but now it’s part of a conservation park. It’s still a peaceful place for me to go.
Happiness and peace are important to my life, I never got a lot of it growing up. It was only until my late twenties that I was starting to experience it and felt I’d find that in a relationship. My mental health suffered during this time, and while I’m told I’m good at masking it. I should have been open about it, and not let it affect the relationship as it’s no excuse. It was my responsibility to look after it and I didn’t. It only got worse when the relationship ended with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever set my heart on.
The road to recovery will be long, hard, and confusing. I will have to find patience again. I’d like to find my passion again as I’ve lost it. There isn’t much that interests me anymore and I feel like I’m wasting away and wasting my time. I’m also not sure what I’m passionate about anymore either.
I do know I’d love to get a chance to be a husband, partner, sidekick, educator and role model, a Dad. But the word “father” never really comes to mind. Just because you can bring a child into this world does not make you a Father. Regardless of whoever’s child, it is, I’ll always take time to listen, educate and be a role model.
But where is my passion, and my heart supposed to go? If you observe the people around you, a lot of them are the same. Live the same lifestyle, do the same things over and over again without much thought to their own growth as a person. It’s the different ones I take notice of. Am I mean to stay in one place? Work in I.T. and do the same things over and over again? Am I meant for something different? Give up the rat race and live out a van like a nomad? Become someone who travels full time and blogs? Live in a different country as a writer about whatever the fuck that feels right? These are the people I take notice of, the “round peg in the square hole’.
That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace.