The hospital's Pain Unit was in reality a borrowed consultation room with borrowed furniture. Much later, it was given a permanent room with nice furniture. The first time I saw Dr Tay, I broke down in tears. The bwaaaah with big heaving sobs and mucous kind. Totally embarrassing. It was the 2nd time I cried in front of strangers as an adult.
Dr Tay was nice, patient and kind. He was also open to different kinds of treatment. When I saw him, I was on 2 kinds of medication - mood and nerves which I took at night. However, even with the medication, I was still plagued with deep muscle pains. Dr Tay suggested injecting into the deep muscles. I think he used saline or something harmless. We agreed to inject into only 5 specific spots. The injection would only cause some mild discomfort and numbness for a short while. Shortly after the injections, I felt needles and pins all over my body. I could not speak and could only cry. Pain travelled everywhere. Like mother freaking pain. Not just my muscles but every part of my body. I kept thinking what had I done? Then my body kept shaking and I really thought I was going to die. To his credit, Dr Tay did not panic. He monitored me and eventually the pain went away and I went home traumatised.
I went back to the Pain Unit a couple of days later to see the psychologist SY. Dr Tay sent a doctor who had sat in on the session to check on me. To their surprise, I told them I was a 100 times better since the injection. Apparently after the pain and trauma wore off, I felt fantastic! The injection managed to reach the deep deep pain I could never get rid of.
Subsequently I would go back to Dr Tay for injections. But he was always careful never to give me more than 2 at one go. I never experienced the crazy reactions like the first time again.
My first session with SY was quite weird. It was the first time I saw a psychologist. She asked me to answer this question: Who is Jane?
Who is Jane? Like wtf!
I thought I was wasting my time. But I humoured her and for my homework, I had to answer this question: What does Jane want?
The next session I gave the answer: Jane wants to be successful. This turned out to be an important question! My bag making at that time was an area I was yet to be considered successful. I dove into it like a mad woman. I became obsessed with finding ways to make zip pouches without showing the raw edges.
In the first quarter of 2008, I made my breakthrough in sewing zippers. I produced a few tutorials to share. In those days, the idea of selling was never on my mind!!!
Meet Fully Lined Boxy Pouch. I did not come up with the concept of the boxy pouch but I wanted to make it without any raw seams. I referenced a couple of tutes, played around with it and one day I got it. This was my first tutorial and my first major success in "figuring the bags out".
SY had asked me to keep a diary so I could figure what my pain triggers were. I discovered that when I became engrossed in my bag-making, I was virtually pain-free.
If only I could simply make bags and never feel pain again. But you know life is never as simple as that. I had pain triggers which I could not wish away and I had to learn to deal with them. I had my daily dealings with my family and then there was my MIL who turned out to be a major pain trigger.
One of the problems with pain was at night I would have nightmares. Very weird ones like me looking up at the glass ceiling all night searching for my son or me cleaning the ceiling with a long brush. Often I would wake up and find myself jerking my neck or arm and this made my muscles problem worse. Obviously, I had very huge psychological problems which had not yet been fixed.
I wasn't like a messed up person or anything. But I had a lot of resentment and anger and frustration. I was trapped in this vicious cycle of encountering the same problems and reacting the same way over and over. That plus the tendency to keep the frustrations bottled up and blaming others.
SY suggested I modify my behaviour to tackle my frustrations with the people around me.
Pain makes you selfish. I wanted people around me to change their behaviour. At home I had become unreasonable. I wanted the kids to be quiet when I did not feel good. I wanted things to go well all the time. I did not want to listen to problems or have to make difficult decisions. One day hubs gave me a talking to. He said everyone was supportive of me with my problems especially him. But he was tired of always having to make sure nothing upset me. I think he cried a little.
That really made me ashamed. I went back to SY and I decided I would modify my behaviour. I won't go into specifics about how I modified my behaviour. It was really just as simple as changing my mannerism, my expectations, my way of dealing with unpleasant situations, letting others have their way some times, not always insisting on my way. It wasn't easy but somehow I did it.
I told SY about my bag making and the desire to sell my creations. (I had way too many items lying around) She was very encouraging and one day I googled and found MAAD, a market for Singapore craft. One day I daringly submitted a few photos of my wares. I was sure I would be rejected. It was a ridiculous idea.
This was one of the photos of my pouches I submitted. So embarrassing! I simply lay everything on the table and snapped. To my surprise I was ALLOWED to sell at MAAD. I booked a slot, sent a cheque and then told hubs about it. Hubs was surprisingly not pleased about it. Later I realised he hated being surprised. He was mostly upset I did not check the place out first. Fortunately, there was a MAAD in session and he said we had to at least go take a look. So all of us went and it seemed okay. We did not stay long because we were really shy.
In April 2009, I went alone to MAAD with my bags and pouches. I was terrified out of my mind.
I am not kidding. This was my table display for my first MAAD - the first time I ventured out of my home with the bags and pouches I had made - to SELL for money, real Singapore dollars. The audacity! I actually thought it was helpful to label all the items I sold. I was so innocent. Aw. You can read my FIRST POST-MORTEM here.
My family came both days so I would not feel alone. Man, my kids were so little then.
I sold 13 bags/pouches over 2 days and called it a success. I seriously believed I would not be able to sell a single item. It was mind blowing. It was the most exciting thing I had ever done in my life. It changed my life FOREVER.
Jane wanted to be successful!
It's my life, it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
to be continued (final part)