How to help a friend addicted to drugs

15th December 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am feeling extremely pleased to be anonymous, especially bearing in mind the topic of the post. Prior to continuing though, I must share my awareness of people possibly drawing some contradictions in my writing. Most notably, how I have detailed my beliefs about the benefits for people who with Cancer using Cannabis Oil. My reasoning results from seeing the divide caused within my small audience when writing about Cannabis. In response, I can only highlight the fact of not touching any Cannabis for over a decade before trailing it as a means to support my health whilst utilising it to eliminate the side effects associated with my chemotherapy. Basically, my use of Cannabis is solely centred upon supporting my quality of life and survival. In contrast, drugs such as ice take a person into a completely different direction.

I am not going to detail the circumstances for my friend or provide a case summary about his life. Instead, I want to share some thoughts, and hopefully receive some tips from others who are either experiencing similar matters or had encounters in the past that they feel will help someone else.

Naturally, the lives of my friend and I have shifted in different paths of late, and each time his name is raised, a cause of worry surfaces about his latest antics. The question has always been, what can be down to help him, especially if he does not wish to help himself. When reflecting on that statement, I wonder whether it is not signal of the circumstances being too hard too deal with? If true, it seems people, including myself have chosen to ignore the situation, placing his life in a context of ‘being out of sight out of mind’. Today, my thoughts have been about the type of friend I have been to him. Yes, he is addicted to an extremely dangerous drug, however, is it not these times for friends to rise in unity? Fortunately, another close friend in my social circle cares about our mutual friend, and arranged to meet last night. In all honesty. I am not sure whether it was helpful, however, a few small outcomes were achieved:
1. A show of willingness from old friends to support him.
2. The sharing of stories, highlighting the fact that a different life is possible.
3. Reconnection with a world outside addiction and crime.
4. Future planning to meet, showing a commitment to see him in the future.
5. Advice on some criminal matters he is involved in.

I am sure we can explore this topic in great depth, however, in accordance with keeping posts rather small, I hope the post can stimulate some thinking, and lead to some discussion on the matter.

The mental strength needed to create a new future



27th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Writers block is a rather common phrase, and I am sure it will resonate with a few who are reading this. The typical association of writers block varies to the following content as I am using the phrase to express the difficulty encountered in creating my new life story I am desperately wanting to bring to fruition.

Since last writing, obstacles have definitely surfaced, and I was stuck in a cloud of thoughts questioning the reason why there is such a fear associated with Cancer. Why is every bodily symptom linked to a questioning of whether a looming nuclear destructive being will come to fight me again? The specific chain of thought stemmed from an incredibly tough period just passed. Honestly, I went to bed on Sunday at 9pm to wake up at 7am on Tuesday. Admittedly, sporadic periods occurred whereby I got out of bed to get some fruit, however, virtually the entire 34 hours were spent in a state of utter despair, with feelings of fatigue and bodily aches consistently experienced. In keeping with the theme from the previous post, I am trying to place this ordeal in a positive frame whereby a degree of normality has once again finally been obtained, however, it takes great mental strength to keep the demons away who persist on telling me the new narrative will never be achieved.

How technology can support to illness and disabilty

13th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

How technology can enhance the social component of Cancer
I have frequently made references to the secondary factors associated with Cancer, especially the significant, and at times crippling impact these factors may have. By secondary factors I mean the impact of Cancer on relationships, career, housing circumstances and capacities. The following passage will focus on one area, namely, the social impact of Cancer.

Often isolation and vulnerability are labels attached to a person experiencing some hardship in their life, and it seems someone with Cancer definitely falls into this category. Similar to the themes of other posts, it would be likely to see a number of negatives outlined, however, I feel it it may be useful to complete an exercise whereby a story can be told about the switching of the topic from a negative to a positive. One means of achieving this is by placing emphasis on the benefits of technology to ensure you can still feel connected and partake within group activity regardless of your capacities. To anyone feeling any isolation, how about considering a review of how you can remain, repair or renew a social connection in your life, and then if comfortable share your brief story with others in the comments section?

Does a stigma actually exist?

27th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

I constantly perceive a certain stigma is attached to my Cancer diagnosis. Just to note, I am a single 31 year old man, living downstairs at the house of my parents, and am unemployed. Honestly, you would be right in thinking I am not really the best catch in the world, especially bearing in mind other factors associated with the Cancer I was diagnosed with, namely, the fact of remaining for an unknown period of time on Chemotherapy whilst having an anticipated limited life expectancy. For anyone thinking I am in need of sympathy is incorrect. I am not naive, and understand I am unable to predict the future, however, I have confidence in both my survival and continual progression in my life. In saying that, admittedly, a sense of loss is always easy to locate, particularly when reminiscing on the possible missed opportunities in my life. The question seeming to surface from writing is more a question about my fears stemming from a sense of loss, compounded by changes to my identity. Upon recognising this point, I believe the points just mentioned trump the opening comments about the stigma of Cancer, and simply it is my fears and sense of loss feeding into false projection about the stigma attached to my circumstances.

How to balance self-improvement with a social identity

9th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

The yoga classes attended yesterday and today made me reflect on the time spent since my operation, particularly in regards to questions about whether I used the time effectively. I definitely allowed time for my body and soul to heal, however, I am uncertain if a degree of complacency was able to creep into my life throughout the latter weeks. I believe a feeling of simply being content in life was apparent, and ironically, it seems I have an enhanced ability at juggling multiple tasks when a greater number of activities feature in my day. Moreover, virtually all the tasks I wish to be completing when I make a return to my usual level functioning are undertaken on an individual basis. Consequently, sacrifices to the social component of my life are necessary should the life I thought I wish to strive for be implemented. It seems my previous planning centred upon the concept of self-improvement, and the planning resulted in a loss to my social connections. Therefore, it is essential to ensure I learn from my past, and still partake in all the actives I wish to complete, however, prioritise the space to regularly connect with friends and family in social situations.

Please, just stop!

23rd April 2015: Sydney

No no no no no! I have tried my meditation and breathing exercises to no avail. It is now past midnight, and I just wished for it all stop. My stomach is cramping, rumbling and making me feel inclined to take up residence adjacent to the toilet. Attempts at reassuring myself via use of my past strategies have been unsuccessful, I simply can’t get the thought out of my head that it has come back! The effort needed in writing this is simply too much. I am scared, and am needing sleep to wake up with a fresh mind to put everything in perspective. It seems the darkness of the night combined with being alone brings me back to my childhood days of being afraid in the middle of the night. A definite case of the night terrors! I know this goes against what I advocate for, however, I have taken a pain killer to settle myself into a relaxed state whereby I will hopefully be able to do some visualisation exercises before drifting off to sleep.

The beast…

13th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Nausea! I would prefer to use a profanity to describe my current feelings and would probably summarise the circumstances better. Instead, I’ll try give an accurate portrayal of what I am experiencing, and would think it’s likely to be a short entry in the hope of drifting off to sleep before the intensity increases. The nausea I get is nocturnal. A cyclonic beast, appearing past the bed time of children to cause terror on my mind and body. Tonight, it just so happened that a disgust for any food tagged along for the journey. The option of passing on food crossed my mind, however, where does that get me? Hungry in the morning whilst also not providing my body with sufficient nutrients to fuel my system. No thanks! Therefore, I opted to force each forkful of food down my mouth, almost gagging on two occasions. Also, I usually imitate a game of statues whilst lying in bed. The place once a sanctuary is now a torture chamber where any movement is restricted to deter a churning in my stomach.

To be fair, most days I am allowed to rise in the morning feeling ok, and I guess you need to be grateful for the little things in life right? Ironically, I did have an enjoyable day till the nausea kicked in. I managed a return to the park to complete exercise, made progress with my writing and completed a full yoga session. I would like to continue, but the beast is signalling it’s time for lights out. Some breathing and meditation will take place, hopefully alleviating some of the discomfort associated with the overt attacks of this cunning foe.

New aged Bedlam

2nd October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Yesterday I made reference to a new aged Bedlam. An interesting point to my story is the complete contrast in how I spent the week leading up to my hospitalisation. It is almost surreal life to think in the space of three weeks I went from snowboarding in the French Alps to being a passenger in an ambulance to then wearing stockings on a last minute booked flight bound for surgery in Sydney. I recall arriving into Sydney airport, loaded with images of all the testing completed, with an oddly feeling of having an overwhelming appreciation of life. In hindsight, it was the emergence of my completely unfounded confidence and certainty in knowing I was able to overcome the situation.

Recently, I have been reminiscing on the sleepless and bewildered nights on the ward when first transported by the ambulance into hospital. The date was 12th January 2014. The question could be whether a midlife crisis of sorts came early or just an example of the many of obstacles to be faced within our lives?
To give a balanced view about the hospital. I am forever grateful to the treating doctors, one in particular whom seemed to take an interest in me. She endeavoured to discover the cause of the stabbing pains in my stomach and neck, flu symptoms and the diarrhoea experienced for approximately six weeks. The original hypothesis was based on the cause deriving from a parasite laying dormant in my body for seven years since my trip to South America. Ultimately, the treating doctors did exactly as their job description entailed by conducting the appropriate investigations to test their hypothesis about a parasite. In this instance, they were incorrect. Yes, there was something causing havoc to my system, however, it wasn’t a parasite. Rather, the large mass of tumour that was thought to be growing within the right hand side of my torso.

I recall numerous blood tests and hours of waiting leading up till this point with no real progress on pursing their diagnosis. It was throughout this period whereby the conditions of the hospital were challenging to say the least. Sleepless nights, tormented by the moans and screams of fellow patients were intolerable to the extent of me attempting to check myself out. On another occasion, the raucous of the ward left the night doctor with no other alternative to prescribing each of us with sleeping tablets. I woke out of the heavenly induced sleep to hear the same noises from 8 hours previously. Thankful for the rest, I was better able to empathise with what the man must be experiencing, and ended up helping him with basic tasks. The noise from the ward combined with the requests to assist in providing basic tasks, such as giving him water was much more tolerable during the morning. It was a different story at night, especially when alone in hospital, with my mind ticking over about what was causing such pain and discomfort. The reason for being alone resulted from my deceitfulness with everyone, partially telling information about my circumstances, straight-up lying or avoiding all contact with family and friends back home. For instance, I would be saying to my colleagues that my house-mates were with me whilst saying the same thing to house-mates and other friends. In reality, I was lying in bed, waiting to discover the massive changes that would soon change the very world I had come to live. Why did I do this? It may have been a thought to not cause worry for others, however, this all changed once the mass was detected. Firstly, I needed time alone to cry. Secondly, it was essential to have people around me, and finally, I called my brother and best mate from back home to tell them about what was happening. Even with the knowledge of a large mass growing within me, I still made it clear to both my brother and his wife that my parents were not to find out. I did not want them to know till I knew exactly what it was, so in the slight chance it was nothing, then I wouldn’t have cause unnecessary worry. My approach obviously highlights the fact of me not having children as the very matter of being in hospital alone on the other side of the word is typically sufficient reason for any, well most people to advise their parents.