Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twenty thirteen; the year I got well

Twenty thirteen was a roller coaster of a year, for both myself and Australia. If you had to sum up 2013 for me up in one sentence it would be "I went mad and Australia selected Tony Abbott as Prime Minister" (1).

The year started off with an insane work stress load that only increased as the days ticked on as my owning segment of the organisation started fraying or even calving apart, with great chunks of talent and capability lost. This stress reflected in me by shrieking pain and spasms shooting through my body. So it was only a matter of time before I broke and I lasted until mid-March before my collapse actually happened. And by collapse I don't mean a fainting away or falling in a heap like a marionette with the strings cut, I mean collapse as in a psychotic break from reality over 10 days—a period of long crying jags on my shed floor or standing for hours at a time, twitching, staring at the back wall because I was unable to comprehend what was happening to me and my colleagues—that only ended when theWife took me to the mental health wing of the hospital with a packed bag with my being ready for a long stay.

Fortunately during my interview with the attending psychologist we realised that I was still mentally sound it was just that my environment had driven me insane and that immediate separation from my toxic workplace was the first and best step to take. 

I got sent home and the next day I saw my GP to assist in my US Embassy rooftop style evacuation from my now former job, a doubling of my brain meds, and a rigorous mental health plan of therapy and regular medical consultation to determine how I was travelling. 

I was out of the workplace for five months. It wasn't until mid-August that I commenced a return to work process and far away from oldwork and the toxicity and utter abrogation of public service values that I had experienced in the last few months. It took until November until I was back full time. 

I still don't have a permanent role in my organisation, however the project work I got to do on my return was valuable and useful. And in the aftermath of my separation from my old job the broader organisation provided me excellent care and consideration with a pair of experienced case managers to assist my journey to wellness and sanity. Indeed it was their care and their support, along with my broader organisation returning all the long service leave I used to take that period off, that helped me reach the decision to not seek compensation (2). I got looked after and when I returned to work I discovered great strides had taken place in encouraging workplace wellness. For example, supervisors now needed supervisor training. They didn't before my collapse.

But, best of all, with my collapse it meant my journey to wellness could begin. And not only did I get well but I got super well. I shed 30 years of self-loathing at having a body that didn't work quite right and was somewhat unappealing. Because without my shitty body and without my depression I could not have done the job I did and I job that I knew in every fibre of my being was important and that I was the best person to do it. My depression and sadness made me a better public servant. It made me give a shit about what I did and my understanding of suffering meant I understood the pressures and impact upon that segment of the Australian public for which our organisation had a duty of care. 

Of course this journey to wellness was not without pain and suffering. In addition to my own inner torments theWife bore the burden of a sick man and the household and she had to be my advocate for several months as I recovered. The first few weeks then months were a hazy blur of sleep and pain combined with exceptional hurt and anger over what had happened. And my nerves were ragged raw, with my having to run up the street with hands over my ears if my son cried—and he is six so that happens a lot—because his distress fired up my anxiety. I lived for weeks in a post fight/flight environment where my anxiety would quickly spike if something triggered it such as yet another shitty thing oldwork did to me during the process of my disengagement from them. Even now, some nine months on, admin arrangements regarding oldwork have still not been undertaken and I suspect it is because oldwork wish to cause me pain.

I know, those are the sort of people I worked for. Actual villainous people doing villainy.

But here it is at the end of 2013 and I am well. I still endure pain from my old ladies—my fibromyalgia—as well as roiling guts from IBS but the frequency and severity of pain is far less. And, most importantly, in my head I am well. I have all the benefits of depression—caring about my environment and assuming the burden of trying to fix things—and barely any of the downsides like being lethargic and morose. 

Thanks to therapy, meds, family support and distance from my old job, I got to realise that because of my shitty body and my saddened mind I created beautiful art as I helped people. And as a public servant if you get to actually help people and have fun doing it then it does not get any better than that. 

Wellness for the win. 

(1) I know that sentence seems to imply my madness somehow infected the body politic and Australia in a bizarre act decided Tony Abbott should be PM. It is not the case. Indeed my going mad at the start of the year helped me recover in time to deal with the mental anguish as caused by the incoming schlock-fest that is the Coalition government. A government that coasted into power thanks to the Murdoch press and a government ill-equipped to look after ordinary Australians. A government already breaking and destroying things and restoring the primacy of business as a cultural driver.
(2) The potential pain and angst that could be caused by revisiting the distress of what happened to me is not worth the price of that compensation. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I'm okay

It's been a while since I've been here but I am okay. I am still adjusting to being back at work but, most importantly, I am happy. For the first time in my life I've accepted myself, bad and the good, and I realise that without the crap I went through both as a kid and an adult then I wouldn't have been as awesome at my job as I was. And I was, I was fucking awesome at what I did. 

But it all got too much and I had to walk away. And now I am back at work, doing something else but it's valuable work that I enjoy.

Wellness for the win.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Red is still red

Thanks to going nuts I have a new found lease on life. I've accepted my body—in all its sordid hairy glory—and that my service to date has been exceptional. Go energised me!

In my last mental health check up I rated a zero on the depression score. Zero. As in no depression. Yes, I am still on a fuck-load of medication and yes I still have anxiety and stress pain, but I am not sad. I am merely wounded and getting better. 

Colours are brighter for me now, red almost hurting in intensity.

So if I get worried I am falling into the sads I check to make sure red is still red and it is!

Wellness for the win.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our dishwasher rode the car until the tank was empty

With thanks to Seinfeld

Our dishwasher—which came with the house—had been leaking a bit of late but it was when the kitchen flooded for a third or so time that we found the culprit; for the door seal had worn and let water floweth free. 

We called in a plumber. He took one look and declared it dead; "They don't make that seal any more," he said. 

That's pretty impressive. Our Vulcan dishwasher rode its journey all the way out to beyond the ability of plumbers to fix it for lack of parts. Apart from that worn seal it was in otherwise working order. 

Besides, equipment dying in the pursuit of good purpose is an honourable exit (1). If only silicon heaven really existed.

An aside about me
I am sore—with nasty sharp fibro-pains flaring now and then like gas flare at a dystopian oil rig. As much as I tried not to I thought a bit about oldwork and it caused unpleasantness to fall upon my doughty form.

But apart from that I had a pleasant walk to the shops, an excellent appointment with a specialist with my specialist and an awesome walk back. And it was and is a beautiful day.

Wellness for the win.

(1) UPDATE: I do not have a strong grip—thanks genetics!—and washing dishes is awkward and painful for me. Not to mention unpleasant. I hate washing dishes. Hate it. Hate. And cannot! But also hate. So a dishwasher is a Mikey must have!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Where Mikey slips but does not fall

I've had a near mental health fall this week as my return to work continues apace. Oldwork sent an email to home and to work to finalise my journey with them, a last gasping breath of what they could do to me. They were supposed to never contact me again but, well, they did.

theWife stepped in to resolve it away from our email. 

The correspondence was designed to wound, and the fact that design was there was not unexpected. They were, after-all, appalling managers; up hill and down fucking dale. 

My old ladies flared and I got a bit tense. But I did not cry—nor have I cried—when it came. I still went out that night to play D&D, a game set in Westgate using a mod set of 3.5. I went to new-work the next day and the next day after that.

Their ability to hurt me has diminished and never again do I have to go back. 

I lived a life of pain and self pity. Sad because I didn't have the right body nor fit the right idea of what a man should be. But now, thanks to that crisis, my abrupt departure, that is all shed; their fuckwittery set me free. 

Wellness for the win. 

Then where Mikey has an aside about the new government
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been sworn in, along with his ignorant sausage-fest of a cabinet; a parliament of half-witted barn owls. Because I've learned I only have a certain amount of mental fortitude I've cast a curtain of semi-opaque lead across the result and the almost immediate assailing of common sense by the Abbott government's halting various progressive schemes the ALP had rolling. Including the sacking of Dr Tim Flannery by Greg Hunt, a man who once wrote a thesis about the need to use a market-driven taxation mechanism on polluters to get them pollute less.

Probs wept. The technocrat in me can't but help smugly stand back and say 'I told you so' when all this shit goes down, such as what will afflict the Murdoch-led sheeple who gave us this result.

Eleven years of Howard gave us a meaner country. It splintered the tradesmen class into jostling independent contractors and used the plight of those in need for its political purpose, making us meaner as a result.

And that mentality, and that fuckwittery has now steamed back into government. 

Probs save us all. 

UPDATE: My right upper arm has ached since Wednesday and a purple stress rash has sprouted. But here I am, having ridden an exercise bike for over 40 minutes and walked to the shops and back despite it. Yes, okay, I get that walking is not arm-related but the point is I still did things despite feeling yucky. Yay, me!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Post Sector 7G blues

With thanks to The Simpons!

The work of yesterday, having to actively set block settings on the instant message system for people from oldwork that caused me pain, has caused me pain. Yes, the dreaded post oldwork touch but 24 hours later manifest blues; nasty shards of fibro pain crackling through my shoulders.

The shards come, and they hurt on arrival, but not at the same power or as often as before. I try not to reflexively say "ouch!" when they burst, because it's unsettling to hear someone shout "ouch!"or "eek" or "fitznards" at random intervals. Though sometimes I even sound like a Baldur's Gate character struck in combat and after the flash that thought makes me smile.

In the last ten minutes of the work hour—or at twenty-past the hour if I get in around the half hour—I will stop what I am doing, get up and leave the office. Actually go outside, perhaps with my recovered Sony Mp3 player and listen to a song I like, and walk about, sometimes briskly sometimes the amble. After the song I head back in. If I can ingrain this habit then I will never fall back into working too hard for long periods without a break—sedentary seating for hours at a time can shorten your lifespan by years. I have nothing to prove, and the burden of my old role is on others. The new work I am doing has deadlines but without the same juddering intensity. I am but a helper monkey, a Mojo.

I work in a nice office with nice people doing nice but achievable work. I don't know what happens next but I know I will never again let work dominate me so. I don't have the fear going forward because I leave a rainbow in my wake. 

Great; now I sound like a character from fucking Strawberry Shortcake.

Mmm ... cake.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Along I trot

My work return is progressing well, though there have been bumps. Oldwork still haven't taken over accounts from my old role and thus I get a reminder each day when I manually switch off access.

In my time away my workplace got a new tool, an instant message system. However because oldwork people's names blared the moment my work window opened I told the program not to load. Alas my scattered compadres use it as a vital tool to not only communicate but to track whereabouts and I had a call from my supervisor who asked me to opt back in. I explained my oldwork anxiety problem, in that when you have anxiety you get anxious about getting anxious and an oldwork slap each morning was not what I wanted to receive, and that's why I turned it off.

But ... the world moved on in my time away and that's how my workplace manages workflow. I had to get the program re-added and then work out how to block people (1). By mid-morning those of oldwork were blocked and I could press on.

One of my new colleagues shared a tale of her work horror—a manager who not only belittled and bullied but her took delight in doing so. It was nice of her to talk about it, and to share she knows what it is to have that sick fear as you head to work when the people above you make your office life horrid.

There's so many of that bad manager type in management. And it's because the recruitment process favours self-assured people who can confidently state their self-belief in doing a job but have no actual skill or ability to actually perform their role or look after people. Their self-assurance brings ruin to those beneath because their own needs are paramount. Not the organisation's needs, nor their staff's needs; their needs. 

It's sickening. 

So the constant reminders of oldwork do not help but I was able to get back up. They linger as ghosts of past pain but it's pain that is past. 

And even if my old ladies kick up—like they did this morning with not-great guts and light fibro twinges—they're nowhere near as elderly or feminine as they once were; less occurrences of pain, less pain when they occur.

Wellness for the win.  

(1) To find out how to block them I used ... the help function! Go the help function. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

The election

So it is done and dusted and the Prime Minister will now be Tony Abbott. In addition to him a whole host of science denialists and rusted-on right wingers. 

Probs wept. 

It may be the still doubled medication I am on Vs depression and pain but I was remarkably Zen about the election. It was a foregone conclusion and the result came out as expected. Because while the ALP may have governed well—they helped steer us through the financial world-wide meltdown on 2008—egos got in the way and people don't like seeing families fight. 

I suppose it's what happens in a place filled to the brim with ego. Kim Beazley I think was the one who said there wasn't a man or woman there who didn't think they had the potential to be Prime Minister; they all had a field marshal's baton in their knapsack. Kevin Rudd had a pretty big ego—and in his defence he was also a personally capable person—as does every single other parliamentarian. 

I am, of course, saddened by the result. And maddened that a wizened cross between a prune and an immortal scrotum has the power to chuckle evily because his lapdogs in the press accordingly lapped and dogged as per expectation, practically screeching their desire for the result that we received. Congratulations, actual real-life super villain, you did it again. And if your mum's any guide to your longevity then I hazard you're here for another 30 years yet. 

So there you have it. Prime Minister Tony Abbott. As he was preened to be from his teenage years and on, a future Prime Minister at the family dinner table, all convinced one day that Tony would make it there. And fuck me, they were right. 

Well, I detest the man. I hate his flaunting of his genetically blessed super body, I hate his ideology, his mindset and his peculiar method of speech. But he won the ultimate race, to be a Prime Minister. So credit where credit due. 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Holy fuck.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Headline awesomely not in synch with columnist's headshot



I voted

The line at the local school was long, allowing how-to-vote-card profferers multiple attempts at seducing you with their papery wares. I kept my headphones on and eyes downcast as I listed to The Who on my recovered Mp3 player. 

I checked that my drawing a cartoon or writing a message on the ballot wouldn't invalidate it then strut forth to the voting booth. Within five minutes I was out the door and at the charity fundraiser barbecue to get a steak sandwich. 

I sat on a copper's log and ate my sandwich, the distant trill of voters in the air intermixed with bird song. As I ate, and greedily supped from my can of Diet Coke, I pondered just how lucky we have it. Just how lucky we have it when it comes to the vote. We do not suffer threats. We are not disenfranchised. We do not suffer chicanery to suppress our desire to vote.

Meanwhile, as we vote, half a world away Syria is experiencing their own government transition process. Here it's a steak sandwich; there it's Sarin.

How fucking lucky we have it.

And probs bless all the bastards down at the Australian Electoral Commission. You protect my vote and you let me have a say. 

I have an array of comfort foods to endure the election coverage with. Some of them have "traces" of dairy. 

Oh well, at least I know I won't end up like I did the night of the Mark Latham election; 3 am outside, drunk and naked, my white fat flesh limed by the security light which lit me up to the rest of the street as I fumbled with the wheelie bin lid so I could deposit a plastic bag filled with my own sick.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Did someone say mattress to Mr Lambert twice?!

With thanks to Monty Python

I've had two cry-cry days. The first was being on the boil after spending newwork time reading about performance management and suddenly worrying I was wrong and oldwork were right; that they were right to bully me and threaten me with performance management in the initial stages of my collapse then time away. So it got to me and I ended up having an hysterical cry in the shed. 

I had another one this afternoon when work announced it was going to take away all the leave I'd accrued and it wasn't going to let me have some other leave as well—the time I owed got sucked out of my long service leave. 

I know it's a bureaucratic process and I know it's an impersonal one. And I know they probably have charts that say when X happens they get Y leave and I cracked that. I know that all intellectually and I know it logically. But the hurt animal in me, the wounded part of me is still bitter at being cruelled out of the workplace through bullying and lazy incompetence ended up having to "pay for it" with my long service getting tapped. 

But as theWife pointed out the fact I got all the time I have is a sort of testament from my broader organisation that they value me. That the poisonous response to the incident report that oldwork gave probably wasn't even read in context of that and that I shouldn't worry. And that we're going forward, not looking back. 

I know that all in the logical part. But, like I said, the animal brain is wounded. There's still a lot of hurt and anger over what happened to me and to my colleagues and then to the broader organisation when everything rapidly turned to shit in a surprisingly short amount of time following a change of management. 

So the yesterday cry added to today's was a horror. I got angry and had to walk it off, following a walking trail of the neighbourhood I haunted back when I walked instead of rode an exercise bike. I felt this searing anger and bitterness all as I knew I had to let it go in order to be healed. That to hold onto oldwork sads was self-defeating. 

I've been back just over 10 days and, like with yesterday, I know there will be dark spots. It's just that I had two of those days in a row. 

But next time I am in the office I am sure I will be better than I was before and I can steam onward, into the setting sun instead of worrying about a wake in the past. 

So I will try; onward and upward. 

UPDATE: We didn't realise the letter wasn't in sync with my leave records on the system. In the end I came out with almost all my leave intact. I was worried I'd have to go through and appeals or compensation process but it seems I no longer have to. I was away five months and almost all my leave before my collapse has been accepted. Which means in essence that my broader organisation deems me of worth as opposed to oldwork with their petty lies and arse-covery. 

Oldwork made me get a special fat chair; a chair designed for my bigger frame all because of their "concerns for me". They still have yet to send it on to me. If it ever turns up I'm checking the struts for prawns.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ready aim FIRE!

 theBoy (1) has trouble aiming his wee and has a tendency to splatter the floor around the toilet.

theWife put a toilet training device in the toilet. It's a plastic stem that hangs at the back and at the end of the stem, just above the water line, is a black circle. If you wee on the circle then the black circle turns into a picture. 

I'm not sure if he's seen it yet but I've seen it for I aim there too; it makes me stand over the rim and reduces the chance of my own droplet splash. 

The picture in the black circle is a train; a wee train. 

The train is also small (2). 

UPDATE: The toilet training device has twice now fallen into the toilet water. Maybe some sort of life vest?

(1) Mostly theBoy ... mostly.
(2) Mostly small ... mostly.

Some minor bumps on the road back

I've been back at work for a few days now, on reduced hours, and I've started to get into my new work. Only I've been so used to operating by myself for a decade that I've forgotten what it's like being in a team environment. I've also experienced some micro-managing on what I am supposed to do which irks me a lot. 

But that's to be expected, I was in essence my "own boss" for workflow for my core role for so long that to run into road blocks and to go slow to meet the needs of others is annoying. Though the project is showing signs of some chaos, with some people unable to go the full length of time and even my assigned work changing within two days of assignation. 

I know this role I am in is for a few weeks but as I rode my bike yesterday I couldn't but help fixate on the dumb stuff I'd seen being done, and that in essence we were replicating information already available and tests elsewhere. So as I rode this debate went on inside me, the efficient low echelon super competent in me screaming to write a SWOT paper to demonstrate greater efficiencies versus my reasonable desire to simply treat this role as a "do it while I am there as directed and leave the workplace behind when I go home each day". 

As I changed my contact details on the system I couldn't but help note that the sub groups—where you list who you work for—listed on the directory were dated. I was forced to pick a sub group closest to where I lived, even though that was still wrong. The directory offered feedback and so I immediately went into gear to show a screen shot of the wrong names and then a link to the organisation chart that gave the new names as well as spelling out the new names below that. I was already to send it off when I realised I probably should swing the email past the head administrator of my owning group because I didn't want to piss people off. So I emailed it to them, explaining the issue, and giving a draft email to send to feedback outlining the changes needed. All up it took about 25 minutes to organise before I pinged the email off. 

So my nature of trying to fix things in my workplace is still there. I see broken, dated and stupid things and my instinct is to offer help to get things repaired or improved, or to even just go off and organise the fixes myself. And it's an instinct that will always be with me as it's always been with me, even as a child and when I first entered the Public Service. However I have to make sure not to assume burdens like I did before because that will just slam me back to the mat. I can't be an Atlas, I just have to "interfere" in moderation. Choose easier fixes instead of all fixes needed. Easy fixes like the directory getting updated.

Ah, the hour of work attendance approaches. I must away to my new workplace, one infused with wellness and far better working conditions.

We ride! 

(Gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'm in the shed

Outside it's raining intermixed with hail. The sound of their fall on the roof is pleasing. 

Go rain meets hail sound!

Uh oh, that's thunder. Time to unplug

—fzzzzzt

Monday, August 26, 2013

The 2013 election

I've mentally stood outside the incoming election. Before I'd follow every twist and turn, poll trend or other. But now ... it doesn't seem to matter as much.

I chalk that though to the selfishness of a man trying to get well. As in I am still recovering from my insanity and severe anxiety and depression and emotionally investing in an election with a doom-laden likely outcome is just too much for me to take. So I am watching on, from a distance, like a researcher viewing toddlers through one-way glass.

Needless to say I want the ALP in; I will always want the ALP in. Because fundamentally the ALP is about decency; opportunity to resources to develop and grow and a safety net for those that fall. The coalition is a Tuna Mornay, a bolted together collection of the barking mad and the simply mean. I know to condemn them all thusly is stupid and pointless. But at their heart the Coalition is the party of the individual over the collective; that somehow individually acquired wealth best sits with the individual instead of money to a common purpose for a greater good. 

So I hope Rudd gets in, and if he does it will be a squeaker. I hope that the ALP can best the negatives against them like the Murdoch lock on the print daily market and its ability to drive commercial media narrative. And I wish Julia Gillard was still running, though her ability to use her future office to great good must have been a part of her decision process not to. Julia Gillard did her best to maximise opportunity and to set up social engineering mechanics to improve the Australian community. So I wish her the best for the future; like Paul Keating, though her time in the top job was short she did a fuckload with it. 

Anyway, bring on the election '13 and let the votes fall where they may.

Note to self

If a dish has the word "butter" in the title presume said dish has dairy in it...

Toilet and extreme incidence of stomach pain fail.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Well I have to say it's pretty neat

It's a weird thing to be self-actualised yet suffer the physical side of anxiety. I know I am well upstairs and that I have accepted myself for both the bad and the good but I still get these stabs of yuck; pain skittering across my shoulders including a sometime bone-on-bone sensation like barges grinding in the night. 

But the incidences of peak experiences, those moments of feeling one with all, are the reward. Today I stood in my yard, bare-chested and barefoot, drinking in sun as the chill of cold lawn nipped at my feet. The noise of traffic near and far, a drill in the distance, a bird over head and then flown between me and the shed and the sky a blue, oh such a blue that its blueness is, well, I have to say blue. 

So, yeah, that is pretty neat. I have the yuck of the ouch but I know that will pass, but those moments of self-acceptance and knowing I mattered, that I mattered, keep coming and it's an awesome thing to receive. 

I can now look back at all the shit parts and declare them to be the carbon that made me steel. I learned a lesson from every fail and I corrected when I could. I cared about what I did and I cared about the people I looked after and those around me. I've done more positive in the workplace action than any person I can think of and I did all that feeling like a big beardy blob man with furtling eyeballs. 

Well no more of that, let me tell you! 

So I judder and spasm, tic and I grimace. But I do so chortling like Muttley because I've had a ball my entire life.

My body continues to delight me with development of oddities. The weird popping noise sound my knees make—my physiotherapist said they were likely nitrogen bubbles—is now made by my shoulders as well. Another kick in the teeth of my childhood dreams of Ninjadom. 

You know what? Odd body that's still kicking on despite near death at birth—and so many times after that—is accepted, large cyst on my calf and all. 

A pleasant afternoon for the win.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Steady as she goes, Mr Sulu

I'm now back at work. I'm in a new area far away from oldwork—and as luck would happen I am sited in a building I've worked at before, a building which was built after the turn of the Millennium. I kept walking around on the days I was at work marvelling at simple things like electrical sockets at desk level—for your charger or additional IT hardware—and recycling bins that accepted cans in addition to paper. Basic office fundamentals which I did not have in the last workplace. 

That and the person sitting next to me was the person assigned to help me with the administrivia of landing in a new building such as parking and passes. Thanks to her assist I was fully under way by the second day. 

The difference of that experience, of this office life, to that of my last place is akin to a first world megalopolis versus a village of dung walls and straw rooftops.

My project supervisor couldn't have been more welcoming. Her keen interest to help, to be there for me was again a diametrical opposition to my last workplace. Where in oldwork all those above me viewed me as irksome, annoying and draped in work they didn't want to do. Because there I was piping up about about building health and safety fails or violations of rules and procedures committed on a semi-daily basis and they did not like it. So they actively bullied me and undermined my sense of worth, in addition to openly disparaging the very slice of the Australian public our organisation was designed to support. 

I couldn't have asked for a softer landing back in my organisation—and my support team of theWife and two dedicated support people to ease me back in are there for me and have been there for me.

So it's steady as she goes. I have substantially arced up fibro, my old ladies of fibromyalgia, with horrid muscle spasms and twitches across my shoulders and guns a churn with roiling pain, but that will pass. Because the lingering dross of oldwork is nearly done and then I can sink my teeth into a role that allows me to help. Because helping people and social engineering for wellness is what I do and it's what I've always done. 

Wellness for the win. 

UPDATE: 'We're on a road to nowhere' is playing as I blog. I hope that's not synchronicity.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Damn you, Aquabats


So far it's going okay

I've been back at work for a few hours at a time in the last few days. I'm on a graduated return and slotted into a short-duration project.

So far it's gone suspiciously too well. For example, I got my parking sorted with minimum effort and the card worked right away. There are power plugs at desk level. The printers on the floor were already mapped to me when the network detected where I was. 

Also the person assigned to help me with new building admin has been tremendously supportive and helpful. 

I met my old boss who is now my new boss+++. He looked the same only thinner and more-ritzy; he wears a tie now. I thanked him for picking me, because, despite my initial hesitation, the project I will be on will be useful work. 

It was stressful shifting five months of email out of view, and oldwork failed to delete me from group addresses so I got the sting of seeing, if only for a moment, recently broadcasted correspondence.

My therapist said to take 10 minutes out at the end of each hour and leave the workplace. Go outside, go listen to something fun, go for a walk. To remind me not to fall into the old ways of super work and to give myself resilience and strength. Since I needed to go to my car to get my license plate number for my parking authorisation I sat in the driver's seat and blasted myself with Heroes from The Pick of Destiny.

I couldn't have expected a softer landing so I can accept the minor pains and irritants that come with this transition like resolving the last of the IT business of oldwork. Because the transition will end and I will be well and in a well place. And I'm blessed too with a support team, friends and family helping me as I come back.

Wellness for the win.  

UPDATE: I should note, however, there is substantial uptick on the physical side. My old ladies—my fibromyalgia—has flared and flared badly with attacks that spawn a cry of pain. I try not to, because it's depressing to hear a man say "ouch" all the time. But, yes, some shockers. My support team of mental health wellness peeps said this would happen, that I would experience anxiety on my return and, most likely, they'd express themselves in the physical. For while I logically know I am well and in a well place my animal brain, so wounded from before, is cringing under the house like a snake-bit cat. But this won't be forever, this is just for now. It's like a vaccination to prevent greater damage. 

Pain ebbing soon for the additional to previous win win. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It finally happened!

If we're out on the weekend, say at the mall or what have you, and I have my weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, then I like to leave the portions I won't read in a communal space, like on the table at a food court or tables between shops within a mall's lane. I just keep the main paper, Spectrum, the News Review and Good Weekend colour supplement. 

Today's SMH purchase was from a petrol station and I rejoined the rest of the posse at a nearby cafe-within-a-bigger-shop. I left the discards, like the business section and travel, atop the wooden rim of a planter box. 

And then ... then it happened. A beautiful man—with his toddler and baby—actually took up the proffering to a nearby table and leafed through my remnants, coolly sipping his cappuccino through ruggedly unshaven ringed lips.

Hooray! It finally happened! Someone in-took my remnants!

Mikey, giving back to the people since the last Millennium.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer of George!

Well it had to come to an end sometime. Yes, my Summer of George, my newly bestowed appellation to describe my time away from work, is passing with the season as I return to the workplace. It will be an eased in return—like lowering oneself into a hot bath—and it’s in a short-duration team role that will have a productive outcome; i.e. it’s useful, meaningful work I will enjoy.

While I’ve not officially returned I did meet my new team-mates and got an overview about the project. Interestingly a superboss was at the meeting, a superboss that came across as smart, capable and approachable. It was such an antithesis to what I endured before my collapse that I have to confess at being taken aback. Like it was a trick or something that the superboss actually seemed to be an outcomes focused person; i.e. wishes to produce tangible results through policy and information development. Hang on a second—ouch!—no, I am not dreaming. 


Later on we had lunch; the superboss and the team. We chatted about this and there was a real warmth around the table. And it seemed to me that we were all excited to be part of this project instead of having the more typical reaction of ‘woe is me!’ from being or taken off-line from normal work.
 

Of course, I no longer have normal work and thus a project is ideal for me. 

One of the team members is someone from my old area, but it's okay. She's a good egg that tries her best and does meaningful work. We didn't discuss oldwork, and I plan on not doing so, though when my team mate mentioned one of the three managers that did a number on me a little part of me winced inside; like a peasant hearing the devil's name said aloud. 

My Summer of George was the longest break I've had from study or work in my life. It was a time needed for healing—and for sleeping with 20 hours asleep days not uncommon in those first weeks. I'm still on doubled medication and I'll be headed back to my lovely therapist once I've had a week or so back of part-time work and gotten back used to things. I crashed and I crashed badly but thus far the broader workplace has supported me, giving me leave to recover as well as excellent care and attention from case managers and rehabilitation providers. They've been there for me while I've been gone away and they're there for me know as I come back to work. And of course I've got the bedrock support of family with theWife being the rock—as usual—and theBoy trying to cheer me up with antics and or fun.

There was one small speck in the ointment, though, however those worries have passed. One of my new bosses in my chain is a former boss of mine, before I was transferred to another part of the organisation. My experiences under him were mixed, he did support me and get out of my way in regards to my work, though I got smacked by higher up bosses and he should have been a meatshield for me when that occurred. But, as my therapist said, that was years ago and it was when I did my incredibly hard but unusual—for the Public Service at least—job. And as theWife says I tend to hold myself—and others—to a higher standard of behaviour than I should. I know it's weird to say it but dedication, loyalty and attention to detail and the rules make me an unusual Public Servant in that I have done, and likely will do, stick my nose in other people's business because I make it my business to do so. 

Soon the last lingering acts to resolve oldwork will be done—the purge of correspondence during my time away and accounts that I ran. I will be born anew, a spanking shiny soul in a new suit, Thetan-style. I did at least try to get health and safety looked at, using the relief of my collapse to seek redress for those left behind. I didn't get much of what I wanted out of that process but I will have at least forced oldwork to commit to fix one or two elements that seriously got my goat whenever I saw them—and I could only see those glaring failures as an example of how little oldwork cared about me and my colleagues. 

But that was old Mikey in oldwork. I am a new Mikey, self-actualised, sure in knowledge of his worth and capacity to give. And I have totally lucked out in landing in a project that has a good purpose. I couldn't ask for a better regeneration than that. 

And I suppose that's what it is—a regeneration. My avatar, my old me in my old position is gone and a new Mikey—who looks fabulous and has really taken to middle-aged balding in a great way—is here. 

Hmm, I'll need some question-mark themed apparel...

Tonight at dusk theBoy and I played on the trampoline, the half moon in the darkening sky above us. We made a two-tier snowman out of a big and a little space hopper ... then we tummy squished him. Take that, stupid snowman!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

So much better than I was

It's now over four months since  I left my workplace. Four months since I walked away from a job I'd done for nearly a decade. There's been a lot of therapy—positive therapy where for the first time in my life I approached it from a strengths-based perspective—and a LOT of medication. I've lost entire days to sleep then zombified drift. And then I've utterly won other days where I just walk around and realise for the first time in my life that what I have done, what I accomplished in a place where to say the word "glacial" is to imply a speedy thing, is nothing short of incredible.

And it's taken a lifetime to reach this point. To realise what I did and what I have done is incredible; that a man as physically and mentally as unwell as me managed to achieve so very much. 

I know, this post is shouting to the void, but I tell you there is nothing quite like winning your life at 40, to realise you actually shaped a sliver of society for wellness.

I remember watching this The Daily Show bit from Jason Jones where he interviewed a pair of psychologists that specialised in assisting people to cope with sudden wealth. Their experience being that between 3–6 months after receiving sudden wealth many recipients, such as lotto winners, often suffered depression in that they'd "won their life" as far as material acquisitions went, but now they no longer had to work, the other emotional driver of accomplishment was missing. Jason Jones mocked the psychs, and the bit was edited and crafted as usual to perfection. But the central premise of these counsellors offering a needed service of tailored counselling to the suddenly wealthy was still intact.

I can see that. That how to win your "life" in terms of dollars and cents was an empty win. Because it wasn't from merit; it was chance. And, okay, for the first time in your life you were free from the yoke of need but that joy lasts but a short time. You don't have to work ever again but, well, what now?

That and sudden wealth can wreak changes on your social and family life. Good Weekend, the most-awesome supplement in The Sydney Morning Herald for the weekend edition, once ran a piece about a couple who'd won lotto and in their late-twenties they were financially set for life. They talked about the giddiness of the win, how the dude of the pair would ring the banking automated phone service to hear how much money they had in their bank account, Steven Hawking-style; "You ... have ... one million ... and three hundred ... thousand ... dollars ... and .... thirty two cents". 

They were set for life, and had already prepared for a life of privation in that as a couple they'd been relying on the one wage as they tried for a child so they would get used to the single salary; his. 

Then the lotto win happened. 

After the initial rush they decided, after the obvious stability requirements of a paid-off house and security for the future, to spray the wealth to friends and family. They had a dinner party where they handed out gifts; such as an expenses paid holiday to a friend of the wife and another substantial gift to a mate. 

In this process the mate, the friend of the lad in the pairing, realised that the friend of the wife of the pairing got a gift of greater value. So incensed was he that this caused his friendship with the lotto couple to break-away. He was gone; gone from their social circle wrapped in bitterness from the "slight".

I know, it all sounds a bit "Jesusie" in that there's a moral in this story; that investing happiness in physical reward is wellness-defeating. As in "okay, I don't have to work for a living; I have 50 years of life ahead of me ... now what?"

So I can see that. I can see the pain that would cause. How the emptiness of material wealth lands upon a person and they know they are missing something; that they crave a higher purpose than their mere sanctuary from the typical vicissitudes of a modern life ... because with their "...win..." they are no longer normal. They no longer enjoy yet despair the typical child to old person struggle that is the life of a person in the Industrialised west. 

Material gain without earn must be a cross to bear for the suddenly wealthy. And I pity them, because, unlike they, I won my life. I had a life of good works where I shaped the culture in which I was reporting to. I spread as much wellness as I could and my time wake is a rainbow any shaper would envy. 

I did that. I did that as a mid-level public servant because I was, in the end, the perfect person to do the job that I did. Not only that I was blessed with a partner that loves and supports me and a child, a child that was born through SCIENCE! and without SCIENCE! would not be here, that I thank each and every day for. 

I spent 30 years steeped in self-loathing. Because I was odd, because I did stupid things to get attention, and because I was fat and physically broken with clicking knees and a pain-wracked gait. Literally, on occasion, a fat wheezy boy with a note from matron.

I felt that. I felt it to my core and I felt I was not worthy of the chance at life I'd been given.

I feel that no longer. That pain of in-consequence, of not mattering. That's all gone; dust in the wind. What I did was important and it was important that I did it well.

I won my life at 40 and whatever happens next is a fucking bonus round. 

Take that, once more, real life; I'm still winning.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wilson!

I have a Wilson sporting goods branded headband. Of my four headbands—needed for the sweat pouring from my head is of Finn-in-a-sauna quantities and my sweat-themed man fluid gets in my eye if I don't wear protection—the Wilson one is the most comfortable. The Wilson headband fits snuggly but not too tight and, being made of absorbent terry towelling, it does a more effecacious job at keeping the sweat from dripping past. 

Only, whenever I wear the Wilson headband, I have to shout WILSON! in a despairing cry of loss ala Tom Hanks in Castaway before I slot it around and upon my balding dome, like I've been crowned king of a sweat lodge or something. 

Also, I can only wear it if I remember to pin the Wilson headband on the clothes line on the way out of the shed. For the sensation of sliding on a now-cold but still severely sweat-dampened headband 24 hours later is not a pleasant one for the old scalp-a-rooney. 

In addition, never ever smell test a headband. Never. It's sweat flannel bad.

A dog leg nave for my man lair

theWife saw fitness mats on special at ALDI—whose name I then sing out in a high-pitched voice any time I hear the store's name spoken; "Ourl-DI!'—and purchased two. They are silvery-gray, like an item of THE FUTURE! circa 1954. They were for my man lair—the electricity-enabled shed in our yard where I do my daily exercise atop SoTPC, an exercise bike forged by the very same dwarves that forged the hair of Sif!

Due to the shed being an unlined structure—it is merely a weatherproof aluminum shell upon a concrete slab—the floor within gets most cold. You need slippers at night or during colder days of Winter if walking within the shed or your feet soon chill. The fitness mats serve therefore as a carpet for the shed, and because I am doing stretches now and then, as a good thing to stand on so I won't slip if sweaty.

The fitness mats, of a neoprene-like substance, are about two feet by six. I have them perpendicular with one leading from the door and then, connecting to that mat at 90 degrees is the other, which leads to the shed's innards.

So it's like a nave, in other words, a nave within my man lair. A nave of a sponge-like material that takes a bite of the chill from the floor for when you pace about. 

I do a lot of pacing—and dancing!—in my man lair so the twinned mats are a welcome addition into my already steeped in wellness orgone machine. 

Making your environment even more well for the win.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where the gang goes on holiday

We went on a holiday. First to see family in our old home town and then off to stay for a couple of nights and go to the zoo during the day. 

Our holiday was kewl. We got to hang out with family who we love, we saw lots of animals, watched lots of Scooby-Doo, and I read books on my tablet.

While I was in my home town I talked a bit about oldwork. And, for the most part, I could talk about oldwork without getting the physical symptoms of hand shakes, stabbing pain in the shoulders or tremulous guts. 

My Dad's PC is an older model, pre-Windows seven, which meant I could play Warlords II. So my niece, who is 13, and I played a few games and, all up, I think we came out even on wins. While we played I talked about my old job and the manner in which I left it. 

'You should pity them,' she said. 'Because they have to remain behind and still do your job.'

She was right, of course, I should pity them. And when I do get angry about what happened I have to remind myself that they're victims too. Victims of an unwell workplace, unwell physically and unwell mentally. And when people are steeped in an unwell place then unwellness is the only possible result. 

Of course the flipside of that is that all it takes is one or two resourced people to turn a horror workplace into an awesome one where people like to work. But then you get used to that and when that is taken away from you and replaced with its polar opposite then, well, it all turns to shit just so horridly fast.

I had another medical support meeting and it's now likely sometime in the next month that I get eased back in. I was nervous before it, felt okay during it, and felt alright afterwards. And I didn't cry, which is a win.

But this afternoon the jitters came. I rugged up under a doonah on the couch, my electric hot water bottle pressed against my shoulder, and watched two movies with theWife. Then we went and got theBoy and the gang was assembled again.

It's nearly four months (1) since I was last at work, my last day in my old building resulting in me checking into a mental health ward later that night. But I am so much better than I was and each time I take a step back all I have to do is look behind me to see how far I've come. 

Wellness for the win. 

(1) UPDATE: The post originally said five months and so this is a correction.  It's late-July. I realised it had  been nearly four months, not five months, when I'd written this post. It's now officially over four months since I left work as I type this. Four months to get to a point where I can actually step back into an office—though it will be a gradual process if it's back to my current organisation. I'm better than I've been in years, though I'm still subject to the physical manifestations of anxiety, and the odd mental moment as well; the sudden sick stab of fear something is horribly wrong. My body too deals with the yuck of IBS, Fibromayalgia, and other aches and plains. So I like to say I'm sore but I am well. My body feels like shit for much of the time but upstairs in Mikey's head sadness is replaced with joy—and I am forever free of the feeling that I suck, that I am shit. Because I am not so and never have been. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm self-actualised

I've spent much of my life feeling shit because I was fat, looked odd, had an attention-seeking problem and because I made weird popping noises when I moved about—a blister-pack of self-critiquing crap.. 

Then I had my break-down, my ten days in March, where I went insane; actual, gibbering insanity where I could no longer perceive reality. All because my toxic workplace had finally knocked me over when I couldn't understand what was to happening to my job, my person and to my colleagues because it all seemed so utterly in the face of logic.

It was quite the ride and I haven't been back to the work since. Now, with my CV done I am likely to soon have a graduated return to elsewhere in the org and far, far away from my oldwork.

I know that the following seems an odd thing to say, because going insane is not fun—as I can attest, especially during the near-death moments I had when foetal and crying on my shed floor—but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Because it took an actual mental and physical collapse before I could separate from my then toxic environment. And because I valued what I did so much that it took a trifecta of appalling management to line up to break me and spin me into an abyss of madness. 

I needed a collapse in order to leave—a job which was monstrously important and that I believed in—to allow for needed recovery. And it was in my recovery, and subsequent therapy, that I realised that I'd been awesome the entire time. In that I'd always looked out for my colleagues and that I'd always done my best at any job I had. And that I'd actively shaped the narrative and culture in my workplace for the better. In other words, I felt like I'd won the Public Service; I got to do awesome, fulfilling legacy-leaving work and I had a ball in the process.

So with that I am born anew; I'm self-actualised. I can look at my time wake not for the failures and loss but for riches and joy. And that at 40 I'd placed a mark upon the earth—as a mid-level public servant—because I had the reach, tools, capacity, study, training and passion to not only give it my best but excel whilst doing so.

I can accept the crap parts of life because everything had to happen for everything to happen. And with this letting go of failures past I get to spend significant chunks of my day walking around feeling like Manny after he infused The Little Book of Calm (1). 

Mikey for the self-actualised win. 

UPDATE: Self-actualisation doesn't, however, stop anxiety flares. They still come. For example, if theBoy has a five-year-old moment, especially in the car, then that can set me off. I have to jam in ear plugs and then press my hands over my ears and flat to my skull to drown him out. It's just how it is with severe anxiety recovery. You can feel great, glowing with self-worth, but a sudden intense moment or a brush with old stressors can fire up the physical side—hand tremours, shaky voice, fight or flight kicking in. 

But the trend is always up, and the weal outweighs the woe. 

Yet more wellness for the win!

(1) Right up until, that is, he gets beaten up...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I'm now like a knockdown clown

I'm preparing a CV for future work and I've had to reference oldwork. I discovered they'd made significant changes since I left, re-branding the reports I ran with a jazzy new look. That's as far as I could look, though—the cover. I couldn't bear to look inside it because it's just still too horridly painful.

I had an immediate anxiety spike and I was wracked with bitter sweet. Bitter that it felt like a fuck you to me and that I'd been cruelled out of my job, but sweet in that my job was hard and I could no longer do it and also because they've invested in the report's future and therefore accepted its value. With a re-brand and launch then perhaps they will now care now they've taken carriage. 

After a hot shower as an immediate comfort-seeking environment assist and after lashings of lovely hot water I soon mentally accepted what had happened but, as I've discovered, the physical symptoms still came—the jitters and shakes and occasional tremulous breath, as well as a mild kick into fight or flight. I countered these with medication and calming which drove the manifestations back to a minor irritant. And instead of cancelling a planned social evening I forged ahead, a D&D 3.5 game with our characters journeying through the Eyes of the Lich Queen super module from the Eberron line. Despite the wish to heavily drink to numb away the tremours I played on and had a fucking ball. Great rollicking laughs and the happy chatter of a convivial pre-game dinner.

Oldwork has moved on without me as I have moved on without them. And while the nature and abrupt loss of my long-term rewarding (slash) stressful job still wounds I am not only free, but I left on a fucking high note

So I took a surprise sudden knock but within mere hours I still went out into the world, mentally well with the lingering jittering reduced from constant to merely present and lost in the background of a great night out.

Increased rapidity of wellness onset for the win. 

UPDATE: It's later. CV is done and has been sent on its way. My body aches with fibro flashes of pain from it all. It felt like uni days of old with an essay hanging over your head. But it's done and now I can chillax a tad. And deal with my return to a new job upon my return. It's very Zen of me, isn't? It's because I'm a classy shit. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

I cried again

Recently I had to have a sit down with theWife and the two rehab people assisting me back to work. I asked not to be located in the broad owning area where I used to work but they said that would be too challenging; because the broad area I worked for is so big and therefore where most of the job opportunities lie. . 

In the meeting I cried. I cried because of what they did to me and I cried for the people I left behind. I know all the girls—theWife and the two rehab people being people of the lady persuasion—said to remember oldwork is not my concern since I am not going back there but I can't but ache for the people I left behind. Good, fucking, hard working but unsupported people. People who work in an unsafe work environment, both physically and mentally. I feel like someone who made it over the wall of Insert-Eastern-Block-Country-Here-Circa-'80s but who had comrades shot down behind me as we made our dash; I'm the survivor and thus I have survivors' guilt (1).

But the support gang talked me down from my 'not the broad area' stance, patiently pointing out the difficulties but, more importantly pointing out the support I'll have from both of them when I do go back. 

With the meeting done I was in a better head space, but with oldwork talking my body went into yuck. However the yuck didn't land for a few hours and I got to see The Lone Ranger with theWife and enjoy tasty treats. In addition I finally worked out what was wrong with my laptop's sound system. The internal speakers hadn't been enabled. It's been in the 'no sound' mode for about two years...

Area nerd for the fail. BUT area new life for the win. Because I'm not going back to oldwork and oldwork cannot touch me.

Hooray for inbuilt staff wellness (slash) recovery systems for being in place when I fell!

(1) That looks wrong but I think it's right. Casso?

Ouch ... but, also not ouch?

I had a couple of whacks regarding going back to work, specifically making sure I remain outside the owning group who had me before so severe anxiety did not trigger once more. In that this requirement needs further evidence. We meet shortly to discuss it, a situation which, of course, has fired up the old ladies. 

Ah, old ladies, you and your horrible shoulder pain and abdominal discomfort!

But apart from that I am still ticking along. It's more three steps forward, one step back really. In that my recovery from my workplace induced insanity is on an upward trend but that occasionally there are knocks that send you shivering to under the doonah, foetal and naked, shivering with anxiety, awaiting the leccy blanket to radiate soothing warmth. But I bounce back from those quicker now. Instead of a week lost to a morass of self-pity and doonah wrapping, it's a day or two at most. 

I did have to go back to my therapist to learn more CBT techniques; cognitive behaviour therapy tools to combat chronic background pain; visualising and adding other elements such as sound and tactile feeling a peaceful scene like a waterfall or lying in a field on a nice day, the grass tickling at your skin. That sort of goodness. So I'm glad I did that, even though ever encounter with horrid oldwork fires up my fibro so my body starts hating me once more. Silly body!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Canberra Drift

The recovery process from severe anxiety is not an even one. Some days you feel on top of the world—"Adrian!" Rocky-style—and other days are lost in a fug of sleep or dozing in a darkened room, the LEDs of assorted electronica pinpricking the dark. 

I had one of those drift days today. I was awake from four am and unable to sleep I read, turned out the light, tried to sleep, gave up, read, and so forth until about seven thirty when theBoy came in, snuggled in next to me, and engaged in some light Humpty and Stumpty back and forth, Humpty and Stumpty being our shared storyverse of assorted characters that theBoy has adventures with (we each take turns adding bits to the story; "And then he jumped on a motorbike, zzzzzzooooom!"). After theBoy and theWife left I returned to alternating sleep, reading, sleeping, reading then more sleep. It was one pm before I could rise and my fibro ache of sore stomach and pain-lashed arm wore upon me. 

It took until two thirty in the afternoon before I was atop my trusty steed and riding SoTPC for 48 minutes. 

So it's another lost day, a day where all I could do was sleep, read, exercise, then read. Another day where oldwork pain lashes my body, though the incidence and severity of the attacks are still nowhere near what the were before my collapse. 

Two steps forward, one step back I suppose.

But I ford on. I am writing more, though no Phase Two writing yet today, but getting back to my pre-collapse output of thousands of words a day I feel will be a longer journey than it took for me to return to exercise bike riding following my hip operation in 2011. 

A day lost to the drift but these days of drifting are fewer. Soon I will have traction again and, as theBoy would say, zzzzzzooooom!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My nook is complete

Longtime (1) viewers will know that once upon a time Mikey's then study had an illuminated world globe. That globe would sit on the old fat tellie we had that I'd have on as I wrote, beaming its cheery globular luminescence into the room. Alas the globe eventually died, smashed as I recall, and I'd been globeless since then to right up until about a week ago. 

For I have now a new illuminated globe!, courtesy of theWife. The globe is perched on the white bookshelf I bought for theWife when she moved into my group house back in our uni-town and that bookshelf in turn is located within my man lair. A lair ... in which I now sit. 

The laptop, the one with wireless access but no sound, now lives out here and I am blogging from within the lair's confines. I have random classical music instilling serenity along with the heady glow of the halogen heater to my left. My table is an old wooden effort with a drawer and the table's surface is covered in lino cunningly disguised in a marbled-style pattern.

So with the kewl globe in place lighting up my lair and with the laptop ensconced in the lair I have started Phase Two. My workplace owes me a job, and that's when I am healthy enough to work, so I can pitch my services elsewhere with the luxury of not having to worry about unemployment whilst looking. Phase Two being designing strategic plans to prove my worth to the places I wish to try and work at.

It has now been a week since the fitness assessment declared me to be a protected species and for relocation in some sort of wildlife habitat (slash) sanctuary elsewhere in the bowels of my organisation. But the central message of 'you don't ever go back' is still a reality I struggle to lock down on. I know it intellectually, but my poor fibro-wracked body is yet to get the message. Even filling out—again, for the second time—a incident account fired up the pain spasms in the shoulders and now feet, as well as roiling tummy pain. Fortunately I am well supplied with medication and thus oldwork's ability to still physically hurt me is reduced in effect. 

But this unreality of the reality I have left is occasionally punctured with extended periods of serene bliss; acceptance that not only have I left but as I look back I realise that I've won. I've won the game of the public service. I got to do an incredibly important job despite management interference that was not only highly visible but designed to influence behaviour. A job I lucked into, in the manner of a Bradbury, by my predecessor transferring away and the role thus defaulting to me. 

So I have these moments of extended bliss where I sit and marvel at how lucky I was to do what I got to do—and the side adventures I had in my organisation on account of my moxie and chutzpah—and for the length of time that I did it for. A job that involved writing, editing, design, liaison, print management, financial admin; the fucking works. A job that I now realise was my 10 000 hours in Hamburg.
 
Phase Two has now officially begun with one of my 'I can try this' strategic plan attempts locked and loaded in Microsoft Word, the program I used for two to eight hours at a stretch whilst in oldwork. It will take many attempts, like bunny hopping at a set of lights I suppose, before I can change into a gear such as back then. The important thing is that I have started and that I am trying. That I will not let oldwork win. That I will continue to be the same outlier I've always been and improve my community wherever and whenever I can. 

Wellness for the win.

(1) No, I do NOT love you "long time". Fuck.