Time to take a deep breath

The last few weeks have been difficult. The prospect of ACC mediation on Tuesday (21st) had us going off on all sorts of tangents. Then last Thursday (16th), ACC made a decision which meant that the mediation was no longer needed, although they have yet to look at our corrections which will odds are require another round of negotiation.  Despite this apparent cancellation of the meeting, the potential sat within the system.  Some of us considered it to be like the tricks played on us when younger. At any moment we were going to get a phone call on Tuesday telling us to get to the meeting. Thankfully that phone call never happened, instead we got to spend the two days we had arranged to have off to recover from the meeting as time to breathe.

On Monday night we chatted with a friend who’d been on holiday for what seemed like a very long time.  He helped us smile, laugh and shed a tear.  Through a photo slide show he took us on a tour of where he lived – it was fascinating.  I’m always awed by the historic nature of where most of the people I talk to live.  To put this into context, New Zealand has had only been a British colony since 1840.  We don’t have the old buildings that are present elsewhere around the world.  To show him a little of where we live, we went out taking photos (at midnight)…


This mural is in a car-parking area in the middle of town.

This was the only photo that turned out viewable – we have an essential tremor which doesn’t mix well with night photography and the long exposure times needed.  We might have another go at doing a tour of where we live on a fine day.

On Tuesday we needed to get out of the house – possibly the fear that they’d call and we’d have to go to the meeting.  So we went around the gardens and took more photos.  Photography is fast becoming our main means of distracting, focusing and self-soothing.  Part of the soothing, is to take photos of plants.  I know that many people consider this type of photography boring, but for us it’s about finding peace for a short time.  It’s something that each one of us can enjoy on some level – I’ll get a message to take a photo of the purple flowers…

Lilac viola

Lilac viola

Purple viola

Purple viola

Sometimes, the camera feels very cumbersome in my hands and I’ve taken to wrapping the strap around my right hand several times, I’m not sure if this is a switching issue, or me being a klutz. I also know that not all of us are happy with this new interest – I’ve been told that the camera is going to be thrown into the lake or smashed into the pavement.  I know that these threats are about us not being entitled to any form of enjoyment.  It’s awful to hear, let alone realise that part of this brain is wired to ensuring that we don’t enjoy life.

On Tuesday night we ended up talking to another friend.  I mention this because it was the first time in over a week where S didn’t come forward to self-injure, which had become more severe as the week went on.  Again, there was laughter and a sharing of knowledge.  It always amazes me that those who are going through difficult times can put that aside to help someone else.  To those friends, I say thank you.  I hope we can reciprocate what you both did for us one day.

This reminds me of Faith Allen’s entry over at Blooming Lotus about how we can Make a difference.  You don’t have to be rich, pretty or popular to make a difference, it’s all about being willing to learn and share that knowledge for the social good.  I stumble badly with this sometimes, the fear and anxieties put up barriers to my learning.  But I can’t use this as an excuse to give up.  When teaching information literacy to cynical and usually technophobic students, I tell them it takes practice.  Information literacy is all about lifelong learning – being curious about new things.  It would be hypocritical of me not to gently work on those barriers in the same way that I get my students to question every scrap of information they find.


8 Responses to “Time to take a deep breath”

  1. 1 Paul from Mind Parts July 23, 2009 at 5:55 am

    I’ve, interestingly enough, been also told that my camera will be smashed or thrown in the river. I would suggest that you think of reframing your interpretation. You said: “realise that part of this brain is wired to ensuring that we don’t enjoy life”. I would suggest that may not be accurate. But rather that parts of you don’t have the same opportunities you do to enjoy life. Either because they are not participants in your healthy experiences or they have not yet found ones of their own. So, it’s our task, all of us in the system to learn what is helpful to all parts.

    While I struggle with the whole blogging concept and community support concept, it’s really quite remarkable how supportive people are of each other and how much that really does help.

    Take care,


    • 2 castorgirl July 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm

      I know what you say is true Paul, but it’s just awful to get those messages. I wish I knew how to find out what the others would enjoy doing – that doesn’t hurt the rest of us. I’ve tried asking, but communication is sort of like chasing rainbows at the moment.

      Take care…

  2. 3 Amie July 23, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Invest in a tripod :) my hands are too shaky for many shutter speeds also.
    Oh and i also wrap the strap around a few times. Its safer that way :) and feels sturdier

    • 4 castorgirl July 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm

      I know it’s silly, but a tripod would make us stick out too much :) I said that’s what we needed over the weekend when we were trying to take photos in a reserve area, so it makes sense. But it would make us even more self-conscious than we already are. I have a feeling we will get one, but will only use it when there’s NO ONE else around :)

      Take care…

      • 5 Amie July 24, 2009 at 12:08 am

        Try looking at gorilla pods. Or small tripods, you can get table top ones. Also you can get this bean bag type thing that you just put the camera on to steady it, this could be set down on a bench or a wall. Lots of options to think about :)

  3. 7 Paul from Mind Parts July 23, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Yes, Amie’s got a great suggestion. Aside from the stabilization and ability to shoot at slow shutter speeds, tripods help you slow down and take stock in what you are doing too.

    • 8 castorgirl July 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

      We’re so terrified of being looked at while we’re out taking photos that we take very quick photos. We have huge social anxieties when we’re not in work (M mainly does work), so have a habit of almost covertly taking photos – I’m sure this makes us stick out more as some sort of wierdo, but we can live with that. I still think we might get a tripod, or maybe a uni- or mono-pods. We’ve become good at using trees and fences to stabilise the camera, but it doesn’t allow us to take some of the photos we want.

      Take care…

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