An awkward moment ….

At work yesterday, I was asked by a senior colleague to assist a new worker lift some heavy items as she was pregnant. She wasn’t an especially large woman but had a fairly substantial baby bump.

I followed her to the storeroom and saw her pick up a large box. I advised her not to do that and that I was there to lift the heavier things. She responded with ‘I’m not pregnant’. Awkward moment! I tried to ignore the comment and changed the subject. She went on with ‘I was pregnant last year and I’m trying to lose weight at the moment’. The awkwardness continued.

Thankfully, she wasn’t upset and I managed to complete the task quickly and escape quickly without further adding to my embarrassment.

I went back to the senior colleague and advised that the woman wasn’t pregnant. He responded without a raised eyebrow with ‘She was when I saw her last year’. Last year??! I’m no expert but a gestation period of 15 months is surely on the long side. To be honest, all I could do was laugh.

My embarrassment was shared. My manager (based again on my senior colleague’s advice), advised the woman to task it easy while she was pregnant. Thankfully, the woman took it all in her stride and found amusement in the fact that the manager went bright red when advised otherwise.

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I won’t be trusting that colleague again!

Anxious and depressed – The next day

Following on from my post Anxious and depressed I went to bed feeling flat and depressed.

As is often the case with me but unfortunately cannot be predicted, I woke up the next day feeling physically better and mentally ok. I wouldn’t say 100% as they are rare days indeed but definitely considerably better in the head.

The next step was to obtain a medical certificate from my doctor to cover me for my absence for 2 days. The first question the doctor asked was ‘How are you?’. My response was ‘Good!’. Probably not the response he would expect from someone that is asking for a medical certificate but it was my honest response.

I then went on to explain that physically I felt great but I had been struggling mentally. Honestly, I always feel awkward in these conversations as mental health issues must seem like a scam for anyone that doesn’t suffer from them. It’s not like a blood pressure or thermometer can tell the story of what is going on in my head.

In fairness, I’m not much better than the rest. If anyone complains of a migraine, I just think they have a headache and they are overreacting. Surely a bad headache only needs an aspirin? Of course, I have never had a migraine and therefore have no idea how bad they are. Like mental health problems, it is not something I can see and I can’t relate to the pain it causes. I should know better, I know.

Anyone, the doctor was understanding and offered to write me a certificate for the rest of the week off. A nice offer (especially as I have 4am starts) but I do find that the longer I’m away from work, the harder it is to return, so I said I will return to work tomorrow.

Hopefully, the black dog of depression doesn’t visit for a while.

Anxious and depressed

The last few days I have noticed that I have been noticeably run down. Not feeling unwell but lacking in energy.

To counter the lack of energy and to stave off a possible cold or flu, I have been trying to take it easy and get a lot of sleep. Unfortunately, I had to work on the weekend and one of the mornings was very cold and I was situated in a breezeway.

I arrived home from work last night and did very little. I slumped in my lounge chair and stared at the TV screen for a couple of hours without taking much notice of what was on. I had almost zero energy to do anything but eat and take a shower.

In the back of my mind, a worry started to creep in about specialised work training that was due to commence today. The training would involve being around approximately 50 colleagues over 3 days. I had known about the training for a couple of weeks but only last night did I start to experience anxiety about being in a room with a large crowd.

I slept a bit restlessly and struggled to get out of bed when the alarm went off. I got up and started to wander around. I felt physically unwell and drained but not to the point of needing to take a day off sick. Unfortunately, what was overwhelming me was a feeling of anxiety and depression about the days training.

I went through the motions of having breakfast until I decided that I would not be able to confront the training and called in sick. I went back to bed and slept until 10:30 but awoke feeling no more refreshed.

For me, there is often a direct correlation between my physical and mental health. When I feel fit and healthy, I am able to cope difficult situations. Frequently, I am able to resolve matters calmly and methodically when others around me panic. However, when I feel rundown or sick, I find it impossible manage even simple matters and can barely face people. Not ideal when the job is face to face customer service.

Oftentimes, I am still physically able to attend the gym and train but the thought of going to work is overwhelming. I’m sure people would consider I am bludging as they don’t understand mental health and the impact it has.

I know the pain will pass in time but at the moment, that seems forever away, even if it is only a day or two. I also know that the training is essential and my absence today will be a black mark against my name.

Sometimes there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel and only dark.

Sacrificing now for the long-term goal

My life at the moment:

  • Sleep
  • Work. Pick up overtime and extra shifts if possible
  • Eat
  • Shower/brush teeth
  • Train at gym
  • Feed cat (x several)
  • Shop for food. Buy sale options if possible
  • Renovate home to add value
  • Listen to podcasts
    • Property investing
    • Entrepreneurs
    • True crime
  • Review potential investment properties online
  • Watch TV
  • Blog
  • General home chores

What I’m not doing:

  • Socialising. I’m in a new city and haven’t made an effort to make friends outside of work to reduce obligation to socialise (I know, a bit sad)
  • Buying new clothes, except as a necessity. Work uniform supplied and live in t-shirts and tracksuit pants the rest of time
  • Drinking alcohol excessively (a couple of beers weekly now only)
  • Eating out. Very occasional pizza ordered with savings coupon
  • Spending money on entertainment. i.e. cinema

Sound boring? Yeah, it kind of is but I’m suffering for my goal at the moment. My main thought at the moment is money, with the goal of not having to worry about money in 5 years. My goal is so strong that my boring life doesn’t feel boring. I have a purpose and I feel motivated daily.

My lifestyle up to now has been less than financially effective. Though I have managed to accrue a little money through property capital gain, I really haven’t saved a considerable amount and definitely not enough to retire.

5 years is a fair time to go without but I’m putting it in perspective. If the next 5 years of sacrifice allows me to relax in retirement, the time is well worth it.

Prison justice – Fair and reasonable?

The other day, I was listening to a podcast on Case True Crime, the Anita Cobby murder. This episode focussed on the rape and murder of Anita Cobby by 5 men in 1986.

I’m old enough to remember this crime. It gained a large amount of media coverage due to the severity of the crime and probably due to the fact that Anita was a beautiful young woman.

Further to that, Anita was a former beauty pageant winner and a nurse, which a vibrant and caring nature. The murder was horrific, Anita was abducted while walking home at night and beaten, dragged through barbed wire, raped (by 4 of the 5 men) and then had her throat slit, almost to the point of decapitation. In some ways, perhaps death was a blessing rather than living after that ordeal.

The response from the public was unheard of in Australia. Huge crowds were seen at the courtroom hearings and abuse and death threats were yelled at the murderers. I recommend you listen to the podcast for more information.

My post relates to a story of prison justice that occurred to one of the convicted prisoners. One of the murderers had a plastic tube inserted in his anus, to which a length of barbed wire was inserted. The plastic tube was then removed, leaving the barbed wire inside. At following court hearings, he was unable to sit.

My view is that the punishment is fair and reasonable. It provides some justice for the crime. I’m sure that some will contend that wishing pain and suffering on another person makes me no better than the murderers themselves. I respond that the difference is that Anita was an innocent person. Her only ‘crime’ was walking home alone from the train station at night.

However, the murderers were serial offenders with long criminal histories. Amongst them, they had raped and burgled, one was an escapee from prison at the time of crime and were abusers of alcohol and drugs. In short, they served no purpose to society and never would.

The family and friends of Anita will suffer with the memory of her death for life. The husband of Anita in fact, turned to drugs and alcohol following her death and had a very long road to recovery.

I say, let the animals suffer. Prison justice is sometimes the only fair justice.

Whatever you do, do it great!

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

Martin Luther King Jr

A great quote! Whatever the job is, do it to your best. Never consider a job too small or below you.

If an opportunity arises, don’t let your work ethic or attitude be the reasons you miss out.

Positive influences – It starts at home

This post is somewhat of an extension to Surround yourself with people that challenge you to grow.  Surrounding yourself with the right people is not especially challenging if you are motivated enough and have the courage to distance yourself from the people who bring you down.

However, over the last week, I have encountered several cases where the above is not really an option. That is, by having parents that are poor influences. Again, I am relying on my experiences at work where I have high-volume customer contact.

Example 1 relates to two separate cases where I was approached by an adult and a child. My role on the night was to advise that the trains weren’t running due to track maintenance and to provide them with options for Rail Bus travel. An inconvenience but not the end of the world. In both situations, I was in the middle of discussing the correct bus when the ‘adult’ turned away from me angrily and stated variations of ‘F**k off, you guys are hopeless’.

I’m big enough, old enough and ugly enough to let abuse roll off me. I all but forget the interaction immediately and move onto the next customer with a smile. However, how does this influence the child? They absorb that aggression and verbal abuse are the manner to interact with people when things don’t go their way.

Example 2 relates to a middle-aged woman who was visibly shivering on a platform. It was only slightly chilly, so I approached her to see if she was ok and if she needed an ambulance. Her son (so I found out later) pipped up to say she was ok and that she just had a ‘dirty shot’.

The son was in his early 20’s, barefoot and his clothes were clearly dirty. I will note also he was smoking on the platform in the middle of customers and I had to tell him to put the cigarette out as it was illegal.

I contacted my manager for advice. I found out that both the mother and son were well-known to police, with extension drug histories, aggressive behaviour towards customers and staff and never paid for tickets.

Again, what hope did this kid have to grow up to be a positive contributor to society? His main influence was an antisocial drug addict mother.

I’m sure there are countless examples of people with poor influences who have grown to be beautiful people and achieved amazing things. However, I will bet that the majority of children that grow up with poor parenting influences follow a very similar path.

For a number of reasons, I never became a parent. But surely when you have a child, the world becomes more than just you. Children are sponges and on the whole, look up to their parents.

Maybe if you can’t create a positive environment for your children, parenting might not be for you. How do you want your child to grow up? Think about what you say and do.