Time for a social/personal experiment..

14th January 2015: Sydney, Australia

The topic of isolation versus support could always raise interesting reactions regarding the feelings people have throughout varying periods within their lives. In keeping with the umbrella concept governing this series of entries, I suggest the topic is especially important for people who have experienced Cancer. I believe the importance stems from what I deem the secondary factors of Cancer. The factors representing the complete impact of Cancer, not only the illness, but more specifically attention on the consequences of the experience, factors such as ones future outlook, relationships, finance, employment, mental health, physical health, sexual activity, etc.

It seems I am regarding Cancer above other stressors or life events, however, should the matter of relativity not be raised as I think it is unfair to scale Cancer above mental health concerns, difficultly with child rearing, divorce or other stressors? If the previous statement does hold weight, then is not the whole first passage about secondary factors now invalid or would it be better to take a more wholesome approach to all matters, seeing the secondary factors attached to any concern an individual faces?

I have digressed from the main point of isolation versus support, and must say the thought of a quiet hut with limited people, good waves and real food seems so appealing, however, is not the support from family and friends plus my place of residence not the drawing card for me living here? I have mentioned many times the contradictions within my life, and the number of questions I have posed throughout this one entry would indicate a level of accuracy in that statement. The matter of isolation versus support derives from a wanting to have or to be somewhere else. If one option is not available, i.e. isolation then it becomes the point of interest, however, when reversed, does the longing for all the home comforts then not become the main point in the mind? Again I am left with a question needing an answer, and it seems the only way of resolving this theory is by actually testing it. Therefore, I have decided to await the outcomes of inquires in regards to my project, then I will opt to move for a short period of time to a small hut, with waves and real food to eat. It does seem rather naive and a little immature, and admittedly, it is the starting point of a plan that will surely expand as discussions needs to be made with my girlfriend for what the future holds.

Does a degree of arrogance need to exist in my life?

6th January 2015: Sydney, Australia

I realised an underlying level of arrogance was evident in the first paragraph of my last entry, and am now starting to wonder if a level of arrogance and self-confidence is essential to approaching Cancer. I need to state that I am not at all advocating a diversion away from the other principles I promote. Rather, maybe starting to understand why people advise me a selfishness is needed within my life. Whether this has any impact on the actual outcome is definitely up for debate, however, regardless of the future awaiting me, wouldn’t the benefits of feeling positive about my circumstances outweigh negative thoughts, low self-esteem and doubt, particularly if my death was to eventuate at a premature stage?

The writing is all very doom and gloom, leading me back to question the correlation between my writing and later feelings? Therefore, I think a change is definitely needed in both my life and writing. I just hope the same attitude prevails when commecing to write next.

How environments shape our behaviours

6th November 2915: Sydney Australia

I am writing this from the pharmacy reception, and feeling fortunate of only needing to spend a fraction of my time in this place when seeing my doctor due to the hostile, unfriendly and overall negative atmosphere that always seems present. I was feeling extremely positive about my entry today till being placed within this place. My intentions shifted from a positive mind-state, highlighting a new addition to my daily routine to a negative experience examining an idea on the correlation between an environment and the behaviours of existing occupants. Recollections of all visits to this department never elicit a positive experience. Instead, the points coming to mind is the encountered unnecessary difficulty and an extremely unhelpful team of rude staff. Factors not needed when already processing the information of the task ahead.

A number of examples can be draw upon when thinking about the correlations between an environment and the behaviours of the particular population. For instance, there is research detailing the significant crime drops noted in varying cities where police have taken a more proactive approach to working with the community rather than an approach deemed ‘over policing’ or other examples, such as decisions made by governments to improve social cohesion and safety within sections of a city where a diverse range of housing options are available, opposed to historic clustering of public housing with poor lighting, unsuitable street design and limited commercial development within the area. The introduction of classical music in malls to decrease the likelihood of anti-social behaviours by young people is another example of the power of the environment influencing the behaviours of those who occupy it. An experiment I would like to trial would be located within a men’s toilet of all places. My reasoning derives from a recent visit to a notable Sydney venue with impeccable water views. Since my last visit, attention had been placed on taking advantage of the spectacular position of the establishment, thus, a wide spreading beer garden overlooked the water, a DJ was playing summer tunes in a makeshift garden and overall a really fantastic environment had been created. The interesting observation was that any renovations that occurred failed to take into account the men’s toilet. Consequently, a quick walk lead me into this completely different world, and unsurprisingly the men’s toilet resembled what people would think a male’s toilets would look like. One could not imagine the same mental output was put towards creating a fun summer scene outside was leaving the toilet in such a state. The question I pose is whether people behaved in such a way (I don’t think details are required) because the poor environment they found themselves within. Would the behaviours of the people who use the bathroom be the same if they were using bright, well-designed and hygienic facilities rather than a dark, cold and unclean toilet?

If the above hypothesis is correct and we were the experience above as an example, then what could be the reason for the pharmacy acting as the equivalent as the males toilet, and why does it differ to the usual department visited when seeing my doctor? The response I pose was highlighted in the comments made by another person waiting to collect their medication. The guy said, ‘they don’t care about us waiting as they have the drugs and they know we all want the drugs’. The comment explicitly shows a complete similarity between the actions of the employees of pharmacy department and actual drug dealers selling illicit substances. In each case, an imbalance of power exists with the person wanting or needing the drugs from a supplier, and the supplier regardless of whether selling cocaine or chemotherapy is aware of the persons want/need. Therefore, it appears the environment has created context for the employees to abuse their power, be casual with their timeframes and speak rudely to people seeking their support. A final thought, and maybe an exaggeration, however, the Stanford Prison Experiment comes to mind when writing the entry, so if you are unfamiliar with the experiment, then I highly suggest reading it if not known. It is a clear indication of the profound influence of the environment on those whom occupy it.

Regret or reinforcement

2nd November 2014: Sydney Australia

I very rarely look at what has bee noted on previous days, however, ironically the two words from the last passage ‘an imbalance’ immediately captured my attention. The irony of those two words results from the circulating thoughts about the total lack of equilibrium in my life. Mind you, other factors are to be considered, contributing to the imbalance, namely, the events from last night.

I must note, no feelings of regret have occurred throughout the day nor was it a matter of not enjoying myself, there are just a few very visible points from last night that should have been amended, and, ultimately, it is highly probable of a normal day being enjoyed if I altered my approach. I also recognise the ongoing dispute with my girlfriend definitely contributed to the chain of events, especially after receiving a text message being advised that we are no longer together and she has called a cease to the relationship. At the time, there was no thought that this would direct the future events, however, undoubtedly a strong association with the anger manifested. Consequently, leading me into a mindset where I wished to let off steam, particularly as I had an engagement party to attend.

On reflection, a number of amendments if applied most likely would have lead to a varying state I am not within. Firstly, the decision to not drive sets myself up for a difficult task with the location so far from my house, especially when leaving at a time when public transport slows down dramatically and the financial restrictions making the use of a taxi impossible. Not eat dinner or taking medication on time are almost moronic, bearing in mind the reports I have provided on the importance of food and medication to my energy levels. Consumption of alcohol is another point, and I’m not referring to drinking alcohol in excess, it was four drinks maximum over the course of the night, however, it is definitely a case of one or two that were unnecessary. Finally, insufficient sleep for the night is the final point, almost appearing as if last night I subjected my body to a test in an attempt to see the degree of change I could enforce on my body in one night. The results are so straight forward, and are the underlying reasons for making the changes to my lifestyle.

All day I have felt lethargic, consumed food today out of my usual eating plan, missed good waves and the beautiful whether, and am writing still tired after a four hour sleep during the day. In addition, the standoff/dispute/breakup with my girlfriend is still on-going. In summary, a very enjoyable night was had, and I am extremely happy to celebrate the engagement party, however, an equally enjoyable time could have been had without diverting so much from my approach to life. Another final thought was the flaws in my previous mindset whereby a weekend life fuelled on booze, mixed food, limited sleep were what I deemed heathy, as long as I did some exercise. In reality, it may have been the weakening of my immune system to allow the Cancer to rid my body. To conclude, there is little point holding regrets, rather use the night as reminder for how I actually wish to live my life.