Saturday, October 07, 2006

Priorities, priorities...

When Death Comes Calling, 2006*

In loving memory
Russell Watson-Will

In my last post I said I was going to be thinking about my priorities in an effort to improve my quality of life and hope that I may find ways of living better with cfs. Since then my priorities have sort of been set for me.

I am currently on leave of absence from RMIT University in Melbourne where I have been studying for my MFA. I returned to Brisbane nearly 15 months ago to take a rest for the sake of my health, planning to re-enrol by distance for semester 2 (July) 2006 and finish off the Masters. A couple of weeks after we returned my father was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and 2 months later he died. It was all so fast and such a surprise. Those few months were a roller-coaster ride and after my father's funeral, I physically fell in a heap. I have made very little progress since then and this is why I find myself re-examining the way I manage my life in a day-to-day way.

Then last week I received my enrolment forms from RMIT. I have to re-enrol next year (I had taken an extra semester off because I knew I could not manage the workload yet) or lose my place. This does not mean that I couldn't re-apply in the future, but that I would have to compete with new applicants for a place. I really do want to complete the Masters for a variety of reasons, but I'm really not sure how my health will hold up. And the thought of making myself sicker is a scary one.

In some ways, the letter from RMIT has been a blessing. It has given me a goal that is external to myself, a goal in the real world, with genuine deadlines and expectations. The trouble is it si so difficult for me to meet these, and the fear of becoming even more ill is a powerful stressor.

Herein lies my dilemma . I tend to be a "broad picture" style of person. By that, I mean that I find it quite hard to focus on something quite circumscribed. I really need diversity in my life or I feel incredibly trapped and yet with my current energy levels, this really isn't possible. It is an extremely challenging balancing act, but for now at least, it seems my priorities are set.

* This is one of a number of collages I did as art therapy to help me through the grief process. You can see another here in my blog and some more in my Flickr photos here and here.

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