MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 122, September 2018

On Monday morning, I attended the NDIS Planning and Beyond information session, organised by Windermere – a community services organisation and held at Endeavour Hills Library. It’s been a couple of weeks since I had my planning conversation and so it’s now a waiting game before I hear back from the NDIA about my plan being approved. Whilst I knew that some of the information I’d hear about today would be redundant, I still felt like attending to reinforce and clear up a few things in my mind and also to learn about the kinds of services Windermere could potentially provide to me.

The info session was presented by Emmanuel Bour, who is the NDIS Transition Manager, and assisted by Nicole Peresso, who is the Consumer Engagement Coordinator. Everyone who attended today’s info session got a bright orange bag filled with information brochures and a handy checklist for planning. I found the presentation to be very insightful covering many of the terms in the NDIS glossary including Reasonable and Necessary Supports, Local Area Coordinators, Support Coordination, the NDIS Price Guide, the Planning process, Plan Management and the Review process. https://www.windermere.org.au/news/ndis-information-sessions-planning-beyond

Even though I am further along in the process than some of the other participants who attended today, there are still some areas that confuse the hell out of me and I found a few parts of the info session to be a great learning opportunity for me. Mainly the steps involved after you receive your plan (from understanding the plan to managing your funding) and the different types of plan management. I think after comparing all of my options, I feel reassured that I’ve made the right decision going for getting a plan manager.

It would be way too much stress and pressure to handle self management especially during my first year on the NDIS. Not only would I have to sort out how the funding is divided, but I’d also have to select all my services and providers, do all the invoicing and claiming of payments, keep all of my paperwork and keep track of all the transactions. Yeah I don’t think so. I’d rather handball that responsibly to somebody else because I’ve got enough on my plate as it is. https://www.windermere.org.au/services/ndis/managing-your-ndia-funds

I also learned about the review process and my rights to make changes to the plan if I’m not satisfied with it. I wouldn’t say that I was 100% confident with how my planning conversation went but it also could have been much worse. But it’s good to know that I could review my first plan if it turns out to be a disaster. Despite how draining and overwhelming these NDIS info sessions can be, I’m glad I attended because it always seems to make things a bit clearer in my head. https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/reasonable-and-necessary-supports/decision-review/application-review-reviewable-decision

On Monday night, I attended my Men of Doveton program held at Doveton College. Tonight the group learned how to play Rugby League. This is a sport that I’ve never played before, not even in primary school or high school so this was completely new territory for me. The differences between Rugby and AFL are actually pretty significant from the larger ball shape and passing techniques to scoring points and the rules of the game.

Learning how to hold the ball and pass it backwards was a little tricky and yet I somehow managed to pull it off quite well. We also learned how to score a touchdown (insert Mark Holden from Australian Idol fame). My throwing and catching skills have certainly improved over the course of this program and so has my participation in the games. Tackling and making close contact is something I’ll probably always feel uncomfortable about but at least I’m trying. http://howto.yellow.co.nz/sports-and-fitness/rugby-league/how-to-understand-rugby-league/

In the second half, we listened to a talk on addiction by a lady named Pauline from Monash Health in Dandenong. Honestly this was hitting a nerve for me and I couldn’t explain why. I think part of the problem was the attendance tonight was smaller than usual and I felt like I didn’t have anything worthwhile to contribute to the discussion at all. I’ve had times where using social media too much and eating too much comfort food was becoming a major problem for me but I’m not sure that I could class them as addictions.  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

Pauline discussed alcohol has become such a widely accepted drug in today’s society with a easy of access and consumption. The overuse of prescription medication has also become a massive problem which a lot of users finding it hard to stop taking them. There are many risk factors involved in drug addiction including loss of job, relationship problems, social isolation, mental health issues, loss of identity and a feeling of hopelessness. The most common ages are between 30-55 years old with majority of users being male and over half being homeless. https://au.reachout.com/tough-times/addiction

The best ways to overcome a drug addiction are acknowledging that you have a problem, having supportive family and friends, and finding a good GP who will listen and understand what you’re going through, counselling, social support groups and internet resources. There are also many other addictions including substance, gambling, gaming, exercise, internet and social media. https://www.adt-healthcare.com/addiction/types-of-addiction.html

I also struggle to feel included sometimes. This week I was starting to question whether I truly belong with the Men of Doveton group. It could possibly be my anxiety and self doubt interfering, that feeling of not being enough, and that really hurts sometimes. As somebody who is a naturally quiet person, I can easily get overlooked in a group situation. But on the other hand, I’ve made it this far. I’ve only got 4 weeks to go and dropping out now wouldn’t be a wise decision. I won’t be left behind. https://www.caseystadium.ymca.org.au/whats-on/upcoming-events/event/men-of-doveton-free-health-program-2/2018/07/30

On Tuesday morning, Mum and I drove down to Mornington to visit OPTIMIND, which is a specialist mental health clinic. After doing a couple of weeks of research at home, I settled upon trying out this particular clinic to find a psychiatrist who can help and support me with my sleep problems, mood swings and general mental health issues. The site is located in Main Street, Mornington and is quite a small yet inviting practice which tries to get away from the stereotypes of being cold, clinical and daunting. https://optimind.com.au/

I handed in my referral from the GP to the female receptionist. I narrowed my options down to Dr. Jeremy Stone but after being informed that his waiting list is over 6 months, I reconsidered. The good news is that there are another six psychiatrists to select from and their waiting times are more reasonable at 4-6 weeks. So hopefully the admin staff will be able to find one of them that fits my needs. https://optimind.com.au/services/psychiatry/

On Tuesday afternoon, I caught up with my friend and founder of Behind The SceneByron Hall at Noble Park Subway. I honestly needed this after how dismal my social life has been lately as there’s not many friends that I hang out socially with. It felt good knowing that I’m still a valued member of both BTS and the local music scene in general. We spent an hour and a half or so just catching up over lunch and I felt pretty comfortable being in Byron’s company. Whilst I don’t visit Noble Park very often (hoons, crazy drivers, gangs, drugs, crime… no thanks), I made an exception for Byron and glad that I did.

On Wednesday afternoon, I received a phone call from the receptionist at OPTIMIND in Mornington. I was legitimately surprised as I only just handed in my referral a day ago. It turns out that there was an availability to see Dr. Ricardo Peralta at the end of October and that I could also see him at the Patterson Lakes clinic which is a lot closer to home for me. So far my experience with Optimind has been extremely positive as I worried that I’d be waiting weeks on end to hear back from them to see an available psychiatrist but I guess lady luck is on my side this week.  https://nepeanspecialistgroup.com.au/specialists/dr-ricardo-peralta

On Thursday morning, Mum and I went to the Morning Melodies social function held at Trios Sports Club in Cranbourne. Unfortunately our arrival went a bit pear shaped when the door lady Shirley wasn’t able to find our names on the attendance list. Pretty soon Mum was starting to get upset and I was experiencing some situational anxiety from things going out of control. Thankfully the bistro manager Jason came down to diffuse the situation and offered us complimentary coffees for the mix up and the inconvenience.

When it comes to being a customer, I can see things from both sides of the fence and I was really pleased that Jason was able to fit us in. He made up a table for two especially for us which to me demonstrated excellent customer service. He could have just turned around and said “Too bad, so sad” but he didn’t. The staff running this morning’s function were also very kind and considerate to us and in that moment, I felt lucky for the first time in ages. We even won two prizes in the raffle which is a very rare thing for us.

Today’s performer was a man named Retro Joe who looked like a cross between William Orbit and Tim Ferguson. He was hysterically funny with his many costume changes and far from subtle interactions with the audience. Watching him change into an Elvis outfit was a particular highlight. He played many classic hits including: Frank Sinatra’s New York New York, Neil Diamond’s Crunchy Granola Suite, Elvis Presley’s Burning Love, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, Dion and the Belmont’s Runaround Sue and The Monkees’ I’m A Believer.

On Thursday night, I went to a Body Pump class at YMCA Casey RACE in Cranbourne. It’s honestly tough for me to bounce back from the mid-afternoon slump especially when you’re sleep deprived, have episodes of anxiety and generally can’t be fucked going to the gym. But I keep telling myself that it’s worth the effort and the energy to do it. Tonight’s class was facilitated by a fitness instructor named Sarah who made the class really fun and enjoyable.

Of course considering I haven’t been going to the gym much in the last two weeks, most of my muscles and joints were on fire including my biceps, glutes, hammys, knees, shoulders, neck…pretty much everywhere. I dreaded lunge track really got me especially doing several rounds of lunge pulses on each leg and then slowed down ones. Ouch! Same thing with the push-ups. And whilst these are exercises I generally don’t enjoy due to the pain and fatigue factor, I know that I have to keep working on them to increase my strength and also to burn excess fat. That’s the plan anyway. https://www.lesmills.com.au/bodypump

“When did I arrive? I don’t recall ever leaving Alaska. Why do I hate the dark, when I’m alone? I was on my way, To a brighter day, I’m still chasing around. But somehow I still believe that this is home. It’s so good to be home.” Sky Sailing – Alaska (2010)

“I was 22, alone with nothing to do and I couldn’t sleep. ‘Cause all those cold days returned with their old ways of causing. New apathy.” Sky Sailing – I Live Alone (2010)

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