​MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 100, April 2018

On Monday night, I attended a Hatha Flow yoga class with Rhys Dennis at Just Be Yoga and Meditation in Beaconsfield. During my previous two visits to the studio back in March, my social anxiety levels were through the ceiling and I left feeling a little flustered and embarrassed. But tonight I felt a little more at ease. I think it helps to just remember to be yourself and find things to laugh about in order to break an awkward tension. Making conversation will always be an endless challenge for me but I’m getting there day by day.

Tonight was my first class with Rhys and as with any unfamiliar yoga instructor, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve seen him quite a few times in the studio both as a student and training to become a yoga instructor. He has a gentle nature and a softly spoken voice and yet he did really well tonight instructing and demonstrating. Yes he made a handful of blundered but these were easily forgiven and laughed off. Being able to let go of your mistakes is so important and really it takes a lot of courage and confidence to get to that point.

Some of the poses and sequences were did during the class include:

On Tuesday morning, I had an eye test appointment at Specsavers in Cranbourne Park. It’s been about 4 or 5 years since I last had my eyes checked (let’s be real, being broke and putting it off had a lot to do with it) so naturally I was feeling pretty nervous about today. The first optical assistant who served us was a lady named Carol Ann. After being asked the usual routine questions, I had my first lot of tests done into a small dark room.

Sitting down in the chair, it felt like I was starring in a futuristic sci-fi movie like Blade Runner with optical machines directly in front of me. I had to place my chin and forehead into the grooves and focus on a hot air-balloon on the horizon. It was similar to looking through a view-finder. Next was the pressure test, having a fine mist sprayed directly into my eyes. Thankfully it didn’t hurt. And finally I had digital photographs taken of my retina inside my eyes. It was a bit uncomfortable being in this cramped space but I did okay.

The second part was probably the more anxiety-provoking as I had reading and focusing tests with an optometrist named Parjeet, who was a British Indian. I’m not going to lie, but I did feel a little intimidated by him being asked some tough personal questions on the spot. Then came the classic eye reading charts. I did pretty well until I got down to the third line. I felt a bit insecure about whether my answers were correct or not especially when E’s could have been F’s or B’s. https://www.specsavers.com.au/eye-health/eye-tests/eye-tests-and-examination

Next Parjeet got me to try different lenses to figure out which would best suit my eyes. I was looking at a series of dots and I had to say which picture was the most clear. Most of them were obvious but a few were difficult to tell and so I made a best guess. His conclusion was that my left eye is slightly weaker than my right but my eye health is really good. He also advised that I should be wearing my glasses more often, not just while driving or at work. The reason that I need glasses in the first place is because I have astigmatism which means I have trouble focusing on things long distance and I have oval shaped corneas. https://www.specsavers.com.au/help-and-faqs/what-is-astigmatism-and-how-can-it-be-corrected

The final part of the appointment involved selecting my glasses, frames and lenses. This is where optical assistant Lauren took over. She had a very East London sounding accent (Is she an extra from Eastenders?) and was very friendly and professional. After explaining all of my options, I tried on a few pairs of glasses in the budget range (Sorry Alex Perry, I ain’t made of money!). I was feeling a bit self-conscious looking at myself in the mirror and yet they felt comfortable enough and knew I made the right choices.

Of course my main concern was the price but thankfully I only had to pay $249 for two pairs of glasses. It comes with Ultra Clear, which is basically extra lens protection to make them more waterproof and scratch resistant. It cost an extra $50 but I considered that it would be worth it as I’ll be wearing my glasses a lot during the day. The whole process was pretty exhausting but thankfully I was in and out of Specsavers within an hour. https://www.specsavers.com.au/glasses/lens-options

On Tuesday afternoon, I had my fourth session for Phase 1 of the Employ Your Mind program at WISE Employment Cranbourne. As I was away in Paynesville last week, today was a catchup session for the week that I missed. Today’s topic was about character strengths which are “all the parts (the positive and negative” of a person’s behaviour and attitude that make up their personality”. I then had to fill out an online survey consisting of 120 questions to determine which character strengths are the most dominant in me.

The survey concluded that my top 3 character strengths are: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Forgiveness and Gratitude. It’s interesting to note that probably 5-10 years ago, these would definitely not be my results. Since engaging in yoga, meditation and personal development exercises, I’ve found that I’m able to let things go easier and appreciate the small things in life better. In the past, I was far more selfish and ego-centric probably because I did zero work on myself. http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths

Ally and I also discussed how the NDIS program will affect the community and the City of Casey when it eventually rolls out in September or October. I still find a lot of the details quite confusing and there’s quite a lot to information to absorb even before applying to be a participant. I was also looking into possible job opportunities which would apply better to my skills and abilities like the people on the recent ABC TV show Employable Me. Mum suggested that working in a library or with animals could be a good option for me. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/employable-me-australia/

On Tuesday night, I went to my YARDstrong session at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. I had a lot of pressures leading up to tonight. Time can be an unforgiving mistress sometimes and naturally I got stuck in traffic getting off the Monash onto Koo Wee Rupp Road. Somehow I managed to make it to the gym just on time. Tonight’s session was really tough for me mainly because I hadn’t been doing any strength training for two weeks so my body wasn’t used to it.

We warmed up by doing some stretches into the hands, wrists, hamstrings, glutes and abductors before doing a Vinyasa Flow yoga sequence. Next we did some strength work outside. We had to do 3 rounds of the following: 5 reps of sandbag power cleans, squats, walking lunges and overhead carries plus 10 tyre flips. It didn’t take long for me to get out of breath and start to sweat but thankfully Mandi was forgiving and allowed me to drop the weight for some of it.

Our WOD (Workout of the Day) tonight was LINDA which consists of doing 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps of: Deadlifts @ 65kg, Bench Press @ 45kg and Power Cleans @ 25kg. I have to admit I was a bit worried about how I would perform tonight but as usual, I worked out as hard as I could. The fatigue and nausea hit me pretty hard after a few rounds and my legs began shaking so I forced myself to slow down and rest between reps to catch my breath and reset my body position. In 15 minutes, I managed to get up to 4 reps which was pretty remarkable for me. I practically collapsed in the chair by the end of it. I can safely say that LINDA’s a bitch! https://wodwell.com/wod/linda/

On Thursday morning, I had my Week 5 session of Phase 1 for the Employ Your Mind program at WISE Employment in Cranbourne. It’s been a busy week already so thankfully today’s session wasn’t too stressful and I actually had a few good laughs with Ally, my support worker. We worked on goal setting and in particular what my interests are. I had to fill in a long two page, double sided list of interests covering categories from sports and nature to health & fitness, collections and creative interests.

Most of these were pretty obvious to me with many of my areas of interest lying in health & fitness, indoor activities, observational hobbies, entertainment, educational and creative. Some of these interests like the health & fitness stuff are only recent additions as losing weight and wanting to be fitter became a major priority when I turned 30 two years ago. But others have been on the list for much longer like my creative side, using computers, doing things around the house.

I also had to complete a journal activity sheet to explore my interests even further like what do I talk about with friends, what do I look forward to, what tasks/jobs do I find stimulating at work, what do I read about and what do I want to do in the future. This was a little more difficult as these are quite open ended questions but it was pretty enlightening seeing all the things I’m interested in compressed onto an A4 page.

On Thursday afternoon, I had my counselling appointment with Ruth at Piece Together Counselling in Narre Warren. My brain’s been feeling pretty overloaded this week so I wisely chose to write a list of things I needed to discuss with Ruth today. Right off the bat, we dug into personal territory again and it felt good to be able to open up about some family issues with her. I’m learning to be more comfortable and trusting with Ruth even when it’s about dysfunctional relationships. Not exactly the easiest thing to talk about.

The other stuff was much easier in comparison: my trip away to Paynesville with Mum, work, getting my eyes tested, going to the gym, getting legal advice about the Now, Yoga Studio VCAT case and whether to take it to the Magistrates court. Ruth is always honest with me and very encouraging and supportive of all the things I’m currently participating in. Unlike my previous counsellors and psychologists, I know that she’s a really good fit for me.

On Friday morning, I had my Body Combat class with Cinamon Guerin at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. It’s been over a month since I last went to a combat class due to the usual reasons aka life getting in the way and of course getting to Casey Arc before 9.30am is still a nightmare. Dealing with school traffic, morning peak-hour traffic, parking issues and I do try to leave early as well. But honestly it’s worth it to make it to this class on time.

I have to admit that I was feeling quite uncoordinated due to being out of practice and also most of the tracks being unfamiliar to me. But it was still really fun and an enjoyable learning experience. It felt really good when I finally nailed a sequence and was putting a lot of power behind my kicks and jabs. Sadly I couldn’t stick around to cool down and chat with Cinamon as I had another appointment to make but it feels great to be back. http://w3.lesmills.com/israel/en/classes/bodycombat/music-tracklists/

Today was my cat Lotus’ first visit to the veterinary clinic. Mum and I took her to Our Vet Cranbourne which is inside the Best Friends (Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia) pet store. We’ve had positive experiences inside the store just buying food and toys for Lotus so we figured we’d give the vet there a go. Of course, being Lotus’ first time she was a little nervous and hesitant getting in and out of her cat carry case but otherwise she was fairly calm.

We were greeted by a female Asian veterinarian who seemed really nice. Placing Lotus on the scales, it was no surprise that at 6.7kg, she was overweight. Her ideal weight needs to be about 5kg so she’ll have to reduce the amount of food she eats and slowly lose weight over time (similar to what I’m trying to do!). She needed to get a vaccination and a worming tablet but otherwise there were no other health concerns to deal with thank goodness. https://www.bestfriendspets.com.au/our-vet

On Friday afternoon, I went to see my clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Yasmin Baliz at CNS: Comprehensive Neuropsychological Services in Narre Warren. Today we discussed the next steps for applying for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). My mind hasn’t been too focused on the NDIS as I’ve been preoccupied with other things in my life but now I really needed some help to get the ball rolling. Considering it’s only been around for a couple of years, most people are in the dark about it and as I found out today, the process is very thorough and complicated.

Thankfully Yasmin was able to provide some advice in preparing my application with the NDIS planning workbook. It goes through everything you need to provide including my participant statement, my needs and goals, current living arrangements, relationships and supports. I’ll also need to supply some support letters as evidence that I do have autism. It’s made things a little clearer for me so I can at least get started and apply to be an NDIS participant. https://www.ndis.gov.au/

“No, you can tell ’em all now. I don’t back up, I don’t back down. I don’t fold up, and I don’t bow. I don’t roll over, don’t know how. I don’t care where the enemies are. Can’t be stopped, all I know; go hard. Won’t forget how I got this far.  In these promises broken deep below. Each word gets lost in the echo. So one last lie I can see through. This time I finally let you go.” Linkin Park – Lost In The Echo (2012)

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