Fixing a Headmark


The past week has been a little tumultuous with the dizzying heights of the Queensland Training Awards, the crushing depths of my depression, which comes with all the treatment side effects following ECT. I would love to claim that my week was smooth sailing. I would love to say that the Awards were the boost to my confidence and self worth that I needed. I would love to say that my treatment has been amazing, I feel better and that I have suffered no ill effects, but alas I cannot. Instead I will share with you the very raw details of the week that was in the hope of raising awareness of mental health, reducing stigma surrounding ECT, and to encourage others to push themselves and study further. This, I hope, will encourage me to refix my headmark and correct my course.

I will start with the Awards, as it is always good to start on a high note. Several weeks ago, for those who weren’t aware, I won the Regional Vocational Education Student of the Year award. It was a humbling experience and one I am truly thankful for. The weekend just gone saw the announcement of the State winner. In my category there where seven candidates from a variety of backgrounds and education streams. The night went on. I went through the gambit of nervous emotions. Finally my category was up. Unfortunately, I did not win the state award. However, I was in the top 7 out of 840 nominees. And that has to account for something. I am not going to lie, I was saddened and disappointed that I did not win. I know that CQUniversity, represented by Scott and Anita Bowman, Helen Huntly, and Peter Heilbuth, were pleased that I made it as far as I did, and they couldn’t be any prouder. The award has encouraged me to pursue my dream of teaching future Nurses, while working as a Nurse, it has also encouraged me to strive harder and do more for my fellow students and University as a whole. Looking forward to the future, that’s where I need to focus.

Next, my treatment. For those who have been reading I have been undergoing ECT for the past two weeks. This has been in answer to my depression taking a dramatic turn toward self destruction and suicidality. The treatment has, from what I can tell, made small improvements to mood and self destructive behaviours. I am not as depressed as I was, I am less suicidal, and I am engaging more with those around me. However, my drinking has seen a stark increase, my memory is frustratingly shot with most of my short term memory being nonexistent. To the outside observer I would appear to be improving, with an improvement in mood, and engagement. Not to dismiss what improvements there has been, but I still feel I have a long way to go.

I feel like I should take the opportunity to say to everybody reading this, if you are given ECT as a treatment option consider it. But make sure you have considered all of your options, make sure you have a solid support network around you, keep a journal or notepad of different thoughts or ideas so you don’t loose them, but most of all make sure you are making the decision for you, don’t let anybody coerce you in or out of treatment, if that is what you really want.

If there has been one thing out of this awards process that I have taken away, it is the dedication, hard work, and persistence that the teaching staff put in every day. Having been a student, a mentor, unofficial teachers aide, and tutor I have seen first hand the hard work that goes into lesson plans, instructional lessons, handout, and assignments that go into making sure that the student can receive the best education possible. I have a new found call to not only be a Nurse but also educate the next generation of Nurses as an instructor at either the TAFE or University level. I feel that my drive to always be better, do better, and know more will serve me well in this endeavour.

So now that I have identified some landmarks around my life at the moment and I am confident I have my position, to keep the Navigational metaphor going, it is time to realign with my head mark and regain my track. And here it is:

    Finish assessments for this Semester
    Finish placements for this Semester
    Finish Treatment
    Return to Work
    Make headway towards teaching
    Spend more time with the Children
      Spend more time with the

Wife

    Continue to build Diploma of Nursing Society
    Continue Mentoring new Nurses
    Take time to self care

Most of these will be a continual thing, some will be achievable by the end of the year, some of them have to be completed by the end of the year. If I keep myself accountable and share my journey with you, the reader, then I am more likely to stay on target and achieve my goals.

I need you all, the readers, to help me stay honest and keep on track. You can do this by engaging with me on Facebook, Twitter, or by commenting on blog posts on this page. Engagement is the cornerstone of any community, and I call you to be a part of this great one.

Finally, I ran a competition to design a Logo that would be used on a line of Maintain The Rage Merchandise. Below is the winning sketch that will be used turned into a logo to be used on this run of merchandise, the designer has been notified of their success.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

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