blog 240625 curveball

I’ve had a very intense start to 2024 when everything that could go wrong has gone wrong in the past few months. It’s made me think about how life throws a curveball. My very small family, my relationships, and my home have all been up-ended.

To put it in context, within less than three months I have faced:

  • A destructive break-in and car stolen – subsequently written off.
  • My aunt passed away in February after a very rapid decline that began on New Years’ eve, following her cancer diagnosis in June 2023.
  • A plumbing disaster destroyed my apartment in Sydney.

I also moved from Sydney to a regional town, which carries it’s own complications, stress, and time devoted to personal administration, packing and moving, not to mention a new life with upended and unfamiliar routines. The fact that we had decided to move with and for, my auntie has made settling into a new life poignant and painful with grief.

What did I do to manage myself?

Firstly, I think it’s important to recognise that I felt tremendously overwhelmed most of the time. As each new calamity took place, I felt hopeless in that moment. It felt unfair and I was demoralised. I know that these feelings are natural, and leaning into them is better than trying to ignore them. Recognising our negative thoughts is an important first step in reframing how we think and feel.

  1. I celebrated the things I had achieved in my life and put other calamitous periods of my life in perspective – Like all of us, my life has been punctured by tumultuous periods. I drew strength in remembering I faced each of these times and adapted.
  2. During each crisis I sat down and mapped out how I was feeling, including jotting down positive ways of framing what happened.
  3. I kept the big picture firmly in mind by focusing on my personal goals and plans.
  4. I made sure I kept in control of the things I could control, and relinquished worrying about the things that I can’t control. I made small, measurable improvements each day by keeping a list and actioning it.
  5. Most importantly, I sought help when I needed to and gave myself permission to be vulnerable.

Taking care of myself has also been a big part of the process, so I restarted my mindfulness and meditation journeys, using apps on my phone that provide guided meditation (you can also use YouTube) as well as eating healthy, and cutting down on booze. I’ve gotten back into walking and hiking. I’ve also started doing the daily crosswords and puzzles to keep my mind active.

I’ve noticed that I have a far greater capacity to work through change than I give myself credit for. Even when change is unforeseen or devastating.

It’s not been easy, and these steps I’ve outlined above require conscious thought and effort to achieve.  I can confidently say that a few months into being more intentional about how I feel and taking better care of my holistic health, I feel much better. I’m doing alright.

If you’d like to discuss strategies like these and more, we can help you make sense of a crazy world, listen, and share our strategies as peers (someone else also living with HIV). Get in touch with a peer navigator at Positive Life NSW on (02) 8357 8386, 1800 245 677 (freecall) or

Published in Talkabout #209 June 2024

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support
housing support for people living with HIV
Ageing Support
Treatments and Managing your HIV