Slipping through the cracks

I want to clarify something before we start: I don’t believe I should be entitled to anything. I know there are people far worse off than me and I have nothing but respect for them. The everyday stress of being on a limited income is awful no matter your circumstances. I’m not trying to compete with anyone. I simply wanted to share my story. I believe by sharing stories we learn of perspectives different to our own.

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There are holes in our safety nets. They’re shaped like educated, accomplished people who fall on hard times. They’re shaped like designers, writers, creative professionals who are too experienced for retail work. They’re shaped like people in loving and supportive relationships whose partners have worked hard to earn above minimum wage. They’re shaped like people with mental illnesses who need a little bit of wiggle room in their working lives.

Photo credit: JCD Kerwin
Photo credit: JCD Kerwin

I am not all of these things. But the holes in the net are still shaped like me. Continue reading



That little voice in your cubicle

I’ve been suffering from imposter syndrome lately, caught up in an erroneous belief that other people’s good perceptions of me are somehow mistaken. That I don’t deserve the praise I have been afforded. That I will let everyone down and they will discover I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But that’s all it really is, isn’t it? An erroneous self-perception. Unless you set out to knowingly deceive and manipulate others, unless you walk around deliberately proclaiming yourself knowledgable about things on which you are not, you’re never really an imposter. Not when other people, unprompted, compliment or reward you. Their perceptions are not based on the way you talked yourself up; their perceptions are based on your actions and ideas. Your skill. Your hard work. Their perceptions are the bits of yourself you don’t often see. And they’re more-than-likely right.

It took a conversation with a particularly lovely work colleague this week, and recollections of the faith my father has often shown in me, to remember that my failures to be given opportunities to prove myself do not define me. The fact that no one, despite my best efforts, ever handed me the work I love so much on a silver platter and said “can you do this, please” does not prove that I am not good at it. All it proves is that no one has taken the time to give me a chance.

Lately, I have been afforded those opportunities and I haven’t stopped smiling since I got the first. Is it stressful? Yes. Do I have doubts sometimes? Yes. Am I hella proud of myself? HELL YES! I made these chances by being true to myself and I will make the most of every single one.

I guess the point I am getting at is not to get down on yourself when you don’t get the chance to show off how awesome you are. And, conversely, don’t get down on yourself when you do! Shine like you were made to! Don’t hide your light under a bushel of self-doubt. You’ve got this x

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It gets better

Life can be painfully hard. I’ve written before about my struggles with mental illness and ADHD, losing people I love, bullying,  sickness, alopecia and autoimmune disorder, obesity and my physical health. I’ve even at times mentioned these concurrently, each overlapping and coinciding with one (or several) others. At my lowest point I was chin-deep in undiagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression, I was morbidly obese and unhealthy, my hair was falling out and I was being bullied at work. But that isn’t what I want to talk about today. I think we can all agree that at some point in their lives everyone will hit rock bottom.

What I want to talk about is how happy I am.

I don’t often go out of my way to discuss how wonderful my life is these days, not least because it’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of day-to-day living. I also don’t want to brag. Every day people go through struggles I can’t comprehend; talking about how fortunate I am for the things I have seems tacky somehow.

But here’s the real deal: I’m happy. I love my life. It is full of wonderful people and amazing experience. Yes, sometimes stuff sucks. Sometimes stuff is hard. Sometimes I cry. But I am happy. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

The point I am trying to make is that dejection, loneliness, misery, heartache… These things aren’t permanent. They’re transient. They come and go like waves on the ocean and, like my life now, can co-exist with happiness, prosperity, pride and success. I still have alopecia and ADHD. I still have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I. Still. Get. Sad. But there is light and hope and this is what I allow to define me.

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If you feel like you are in the dark, that there is nowhere to turn, that things will never improve then please speak to someone. A doctor, a friend, a family member, a compassionate stranger on the internet, Lifeline. Please ask for help. Asking for help is so hard it seems impossible but I promise you it is easier than carrying on alone. And it’s worth it. Always.

If you know someone who needs help please send this on. Ask them if they’re okay. Talk to them about Lifeline or seeking help. Listen to them. The suicide statistics in New Zealand are horrifying, especially among young people. If this post, or someone who reads this post, can help even one person then I have achieved everything I could hope for.

It will get better. It won’t always be this way. Kia kaha.



Guest Post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 5 – the results)

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It’s with an extremely heavy heart and through lots of tears that I write this final post. I got an email from the recipient couple this morning with devastating news. None of the embryos made it to day 6. We don’t know what went wrong but none of them are suitable to be implanted. I’m absolutely torn this morning and can’t stop crying. I knew meeting them would make this process more personal, and with that makes this bad news even harder to take. This was their last chance to have a child. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them at the moment.

Of course I have a few questions, mainly did I do anything wrong? Or could I have done anything differently? I also wonder about my chances of getting pregnant in the future if there is a something wrong with my eggs. I have a follow-up appointment next month with a doctor at the clinic so will be able to ask these questions. They also have a wonderful councillor I can talk to, and I will probably go back at some stage to talk all of this through.

This has been such a journey, but now with the worst possible outcome. I keep trying to tell myself that at least I gave them the chance. I have to hold on to that.

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@katiepie_nz is a paediatrics nurse, baker, knitter, friend and all around good person. You can follow her on Twitter or send me any questions or kind words you have for her (I will be sure to pass them on).

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Katie xx



Guest Post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 4 – The donation)

The actual egg donation took place on Monday morning. I had a time to be there, and my wonderful friend Nikki came with me to be my support person and hold my hand. I was a bit nervous, but everyone was so lovely!
I had to get changed, and got an IV line inserted in my arm.

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They took me through to the theatre to get started. The procedure was done under IV sedation which works a treat! I’ll spare you the gory details of how they actually collect the eggs, and I don’t really remember much of it. I swear it only took about 5 mins, but apparently took 20. That’s how well the sedation worked! The next thing I knew I was back in the little cubicle and it was all over.

I think I had a bit of a sleep and woke up feeling pretty good. The whole thing really didn’t seem that bad. After a cup of tea we were ready to head home just before lunch time.

The recipient couple were there as the eggs get inseminated the same day so he had to make his contribution. I saw them briefly afterwards which was lovely, they had more goodies for me too to show their appreciation.

I was a bit sore that afternoon, but it was easily treated with panadol and a heatpack and an afternoon on the couch.

12 eggs were collected in total, and 9 were suitable for insemination. They following day they were checked and 7 were looking good so far. Then they leave them for 5 days in an incubator and see what happens. Apparently they can expect anywhere from 1-3 embryos to be suitable for freezing and implanted later on.

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@katiepie_nz