Conversations on the Couch with Dr Toni Lindsay

Dr Toni Lindsay is a Clinical and Health Psychologist who has been working with both adults and adolescents for over 10 years. She works at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse in the Oncology and Haematology departments, and is a specialist in the care of Adolescents and Young Adults with cancer. In addition to this work, she sits on several committees and working parties about the psychological impact of chronic and acute health conditions. Toni teaches in the University of Sydney Nursing School and is passionate about working with and teaching health professionals about the psychological impact of cancer on both patients and health care professionals.

Toni is also the author of Cancer, Sex, Drugs and Death and you can find her on her website www.tonilindsay.com.au. Thank you Toni, for this wonderful Conversation on the Couch.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I think that gratitude is a funny thing. Some days I find myself being grateful for big nebulous things, like the fact that I am alive, live in a safe place and that there are many people around my world who I feel connected and engaged with. Then some days when I am bobbing around in the ocean, I kick myself for how lucky I am. But, just as often, I am incredibly glad for the piece of chocolate I am eating. I think that it’s all about balance!

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

I was quite young when I started working in oncology, and I think it would be naive to think that that hasn’t had an impact on the way that I view the world. In conversation with others I realise that I understand that I am connected with the temporary nature of our world perhaps in a different way than people who haven’t had that exposure. For me, this means that I say yes much more than I say no, and I make sure that most days I get lots of things done - the flip side, not doing things can feel very heavy and guilt ridden.

How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

Perhaps as above. I think if there is always a present awareness of the reality that things can change very quickly, the moment that we are in takes on a different feeling.

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

I think keep my old ones. I have no evidence for this, but perhaps not making new ones would mean that you wouldn’t remember that you aren’t making new ones. History can sometimes comfort us, but also, I have lived a pretty awesome life!

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

I caught a wave a couple of weeks ago, and nailed it! I thought to myself, this is what surfing is about, and it made me satisfied and happy in a way that only comes about so often!

When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

I don’t think that it is prudent to be reckless, but sometimes all the analysis in the world does nothing to solve a problem. There are decisions in life that will never feel 100% right regardless of which way you go. If this is the case, all you can do is jump and hope that the water you land in is only ankle deep.

Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?

I would like to think that I am the driver of this train, but as we know sometimes the world has different plans. I think that I am mostly intentional and focused on the choices that I make (sometimes choices happen when we aren’t paying attention) but sometimes the world has different plans. Maybe it’s a bit like a dance - sometimes I lead, sometimes the world leads and sometimes someone stands on someone else’s shoes by accident and ends up on the floor.

Conversations on the Couch are all about highlighting our similarities as human beings. I send you a set of questions, the same set for everyone, and you choose the seven you'd like to answer. If you sift through all of our many and varied conversations, I'm sure you'll see the wonderful links that join us all together. Human to human. Connected. Together.

Would you like to join us for a Conversation on the Couch? Just send me a message. Simple!

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