The year begins proper

January is just a warm up for the rest of the year. People and the services they provide are still off on leave at the start, the come back in over time about a week in, taking days off to share child care for the long summer holidays, and more and more working from home due to covid precautions and generally increasing flexibility for the office worker after two years of realising a lot of things and the busywork of offices really isn’t essential.

I remember working over the summer holidays as a school-age speech pathologist. Planning and photocopying for the year ahead, booking up term one with appointments and workshops and meetings and training days. Seeing the older kids, the high schoolers, the ones that don’t do well being pulled out of school or class for appointments, finalising formal language assessments and reports for the next round of funding.

This month, January 2022, has had some planning for me. Goal setting, remembering where everything was working up to before Xmas and this new Covid rush.

So what are my plans for early 2022, now that I’ve taken most of January to re-establish a routine (yes, down to plotting it out on my calendar) and catch up with my therapists and co-conspirators?

Well, I’ve booked in for Japanese night classes for May and June thanks to a semi-anonymous benefactor named Eric who, after me posting about it on Twitter, sent the $310 needed to my PayPal bright and early one Monday morning, making my day, making my week and month! I was seriously buzzing after that, and it really helped me to focus on getting my other plans in place for this six months in order to get the most out of Eric’s gift. I’d already signed up for a trial of Duolingo as suggested by my psych, which is going along well, my hiragana and katakana is still functional but you should see me make the stupidest mistakes on there. The little broken hearts for mistakes do me in! I need to decide now whether to continue with a paid account so I can “clear” and practice my mistakes (and of course use any other feature on there) or just suck it up or you know, just get it right the first time!

I’ll need to start practicing speaking a writing too, speaking I can apparently do on there since I have a mic, but I’ll have to push myself to do writing, particularly so I can actually recognise and use the more complex kanji. I might get a workbook, or printable worksheets. Not sure yet.

Next up, I’m going to be taking part in a series of focus groups for Ausgrid over the next few months. I get paid $1000 at the end which is pretty sweet, so I’ve popped them into my diary and hope we do get to do some of the sessions down in Sydney as planned, cos I quite like a day out down there on the train and a catered lunch :p

Third thing for the coming months is the Federal Election and being involved in the local Greens campaigns how I can. I might be getting involved in the social media role and the advertising stuff. There’s training tomorrow which will give me more skills and information and also includes anti-bulling and “don’t get sued for defo by Dutton” training, so I’ll figure out if I’m up for the role after that! The election could be up to May 24th, and that time will fly once it’s called.

Fourth, but of course the most important, is continuing with my therapy and other appointments and homework. I might need to see if we can change my individual therapy session so I’m available for more or of the lunchtime campaign meetings, but my psych has already said that would be quite alright given it’s a part of working towards my goals. The group sessions are still 2.5 hours on Thursday afternoons. I really hope they go back to face to face in a month or so when we’re maybe past the worst of Omicron, but no one has any timelines, and we were just about to go back to f2f after Xmas, but then the surge hit and threw all that into disarray. The telehealth format isn’t ideal and I feel like brings up more communication problems. I really hope we’re in f2f by the time we’re doing the interpersonal effectiveness module at least!

We’re doing the Emotion Regulation module of the DBT program at the moment, and I’m struggling a little with whether my pushing through is actually opposite action and thus good, or I’m just sucking it up and masking even more and that’s working against me. I’ve more or less concluded that I’m probably autistic, and people I know and respect agree with my reasoning, so I’m trying to respect that part of me, and incorporate the strategies from DBT for borderline personality disorder into my life while learning more about how I inherently function and building on my sensory toolkit and being compassionate to myself and the little girl that struggled for so long.

I’m also still taking Antabuse tablets daily to assist me in staying sober so I can do all the things. At the moment that involves fortnightly visits to the Mater to get the medications and touch base individually, and fortnightly group sessions online using Teams. The group was only two patients, a nurse and the psychiatrist today, and I’m starting to dread the smaller groups to an extent and hope it’s much bigger next fortnight! Group for DBT last week at one point was me, two psychologists and a psych student, so it was a bit intense. At least they run it like we’re all participants when it’s like that otherwise I’d surely run away!

As far as working goes, I have my mutual obligations exemption til the end of June, so I’ll be working on my goals towards being more articulate and able to participate through my therapy, election work and Japanese classes, and look to pick up with a disability employment service in July. I don’t really know what I want to be doing work wise, I have ideas, but we’ll see. My partner is still running his business, and I’m helping out with that by being available, putting out the washing and feeding him. I still claim to be in Facebook social media manager, though there’s not much going on over there at the moment!

I think that’s plenty for me to be committing to for now!

Bring on the election!

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