Monday, March 30, 2015

Trigger not pulled

I have a number of anxiety trigger thanks to my previous insanity but it's down to circumstances as to whether the trigger is pulled. There are some triggers that are hair-trigger sensitive and others that are quite hard to pull such as seeing work from long ago.

Recently I encountered a hair-trigger, a trigger that would have pulled a year ago at first contact. Then several more times following that until the magazine was empty (ClickClickClickClick). 

I remained composed. I simply left, returned to my desk and kept working. When I went on a lunch walk instead of lunch I didn't think about the hair-trigger. I thought about newwork as I muddled through a tricky piece of report building. 

That's not even bounce back. That's just not moving.

I made sure to let my pit crew peeps know that I'd had a possible moment but that possible moment didn't lead into "a moment". No emoting, not even a grimace.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Don't mention the sushi!

I'd had an awesome mates date lunch and barreled in from the bus to announce it.

"I had an awesome lunch—sushi!"

"Ergh," yelled theBoy. 

It turned out just three minutes before I walked in the door he'd tried sushi for the first time and promptly thrown up on the kitchen floor. 

It had only just been cleaned up. 

Probs wept. 

Later I mentioned it again—"It was squid and chicken!"—and that prompted another chorus of ixnay on the ushisay. 

What a hilarious coda for a working week. 

Bounce back

I bounce back from anxiety quickly now, able to return to a state of calm from extreme panic and even able now to discuss the past rationally and without crying. 

Perhaps it's from all the experience I've had.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Now it's morphed into couch towel

In addition to post-bath drying himself on my clothed body if I am foolish enough to lie on the big bed, he's also taken to sitting on me to get dressed.

He now calls me "couch towel". 

Sometimes, before he does it, he'll sing out "Get ready, couch towel!"


UPDATE: It happened again. There was much glee. 


A fart.

Near cartoon hole in the wall to almost calm

I had a bad day recently. A rehab meeting, but not the good kind of "looking forward" ones. I was already in a state of anxiety when I arrived at work, my IBS raging as evidenced by the malodorous offenses as caused against two disabled toilets (1), but I'd managed to keep working through once I'd dealt with an unpleasant chore.

I'd just tackled a large lump of work and was feeling better for having accomplished something when I found out about the meeting. I had enough time for a walk–cry–walk outside then return to my desk. I was in a near fight / flight state imagining all the fears I could imagine when I got a call from the lobby.

It was my support person. One of my bosses organised for him to be here for before–during–after. 

Thank fuck he turned up. At that point I was near ready to throw myself through the wall and charge off in the wilderness to blindly seek some sort of nook or concealed cranny I could curl up in until the panic ebbed. He sat me down, got me to control my breathing and tethered me to reality. This was but a moment, a horrid one, but concentrate on realistically what is likely to happen.

The meeting went okay. It was hard, but I didn't cry, and I got to thank people for their support and their work on my behalf. Then my support person and I went off to talk about how it went and my plan for my awesome work future.

I also said how I fully realised how lucky was I. I fell down but I got helped back up and now I'm being helped again.


(1) My floor ... then at a different floor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ye gawds indeed

I've spent the past few days enjoying the heady rush of severe abdominal discomfort with toilet business I won't go into. 

Plus the toilet light isn't working so I've had to use a torch at night. And I look ... I always look. 

The added menace of checking motions by torch light following painful discharge of that motion does indeed serve to heighten the uncomfortable nature of the entire proceedings with a soupcon of supernatural menace. Like my ablution is going to animate and attempt to throat punch me into submission.

Hooray for dodgy plumbing and the adventure with that it brings.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

(cue Marvin voice) Ghastly, isn't it?

With thanks to Douglas Adams.

Ted Cruz is running for President. 

I watched his announcement at Liberty University—for the first nine years of its life not even an accredited institution—from 23 March and it was just ghastly. He spent several minutes imagining a future of a super president (he) doin' a bunch of stuff like ensuring every child had a great education no matter their methodology of learning (e.g. Christian school, public school, home school) yet demands an end to places like the Department of Education which would provide oversight to ensure that every child got a decent education no matter their methodology. He praised Reagan as the hero that lowered the top tax rate and destroyed the USSR despite the fact Reagan had to re-raise taxes and still blew out the deficit and the USSR more imploded more from internal system failure than anything the US did. Cruz imagined a flat tax future, where everyone pays the same rate and there is no Internal Revenue Service needed to administer taxes when flat taxes are regressive whose burden falls most on those that can bear it the least and a flat tax would carve a massive slice off government revenue.

He's a horrid preacher man foisting a nasty individuality-over-community ideology on people primed to take things on faith. I am just hoping he flames out and flames out but good. Though I suspect what will happen is Cruz will become a VP pick for the eventual Republican nominee which will likely be Jeb Bush. 

Bush 'n' Cruz '16. I fear that bumper sticker. Though it also makes a dandy good ole boy type pairing on first names of Jeb 'n' Ted.  

Fun fact about Jeb Bush is that Jeb means his first and given name and his last name as an acronym. Jeb Bush is in fact J.E.B, or "John Ellis Bush" Bush.

That's double Bush.

Double Bush 'n' Cruz?! Probs save us all.

Liquid paper—the fillet 'o' fish of the stationery world?

I've been raiding dollar shops of late, hunting for a cheap set of magnets to lo buy for my shed, the interior of which is festooned with good memories tat from high school, uni and my working life such as old transcripts, comedy posters, and photocopies of various office items we made as bored mail-room people in the late '90s like that of a staple remover pre-shredder and a staple remover, post. 

As I acquire evidence of fun times had I magnetically-adhere the evidence to the shed wall such as a ticket to a recent work event and its matching ribbon or the stub from a comedy show I saw with a friend along with a inscribed description and the date of the event and when I made that inscription. 

I hit the fifth dollar shop for magnets and got maximum success of packets of six strong magnets for two dollars—exactly what I needed. 

They were near the stationery aisle. And I saw in that aisle liquid paper and corrective tape as used in typewriters. The stock looked fresh, recent. 

Who the fuck is still using liquid paper and/or corrective tape? Is it a meth precursor? Has it replaced ephedrine as base for speed? I could not see why it was still stocked or why people still needed it—much like the the fillet 'o' fishunless it was somehow related to the good time trade of homemade narcoticary.

Presuming it is drug-related I imagine now all these bikies (1), like that over loud arsehole that lives in our suburb, going through check out with nine tubes a go and mumbling excuses about poor cursive and how they're really getting to grips now with the s and the weird stylized number three, or 3, for the z that some people do. . 

Because if there's anything bikies appreciate more than good penmanship I'd like to know what that is.After-all, their commitment to fine inking is well-known, especially if it's committed cursive to skin.

(1) Yes, in Oz we call "bikers", "bikies". Like "tradesmen" because "tradies". That's just the Australian way.

Garden bling

We have a small yard, private and festooned with garden bling. We have solar lights wreathed around struts and poles and through branches of trees that come on at dusk and stay glowing 'til early morn along with various outside metal statues of a spring-based and quirky nature seeded through garden.

Recently we added some cows and a toucan. The toucan is in the hiding tree.

It has yet to be found.

UPDATE: He found it. Aw, awesome.

Did ... did you shart?!

Yes, yes I did. We were out and about when it happened but at the time I didn't think I had so then I risk managed—i.e. did nothing—and kept on with incidental shopping on the way back to the car. It was only when I got home I discovered the full horror down below. 

Yee gawds. That's the price you pay for having a disability—in this case IBS flare likely caused by fibro worsened by anxiety—and doing things that normal people don't do. I had to have a shower.

I know, it fully sounds like a mad adventure. But, when you think about it, all truly great heroes are those who suffered before their assumption of heroism, or they are those heroes that are heroic because they endured suffering and it transformed their character. 

And that's my journey. I am a man with multiple disabilities and none of which are visible on first sight. Because of my disabilities I understand suffering and when I see suffering or potential causes for harm then I must act to prevent them. That's why I keep stepping up again and again for my colleagues and my public both, not in spite of my disabilities but because of them.

(Mikey stands, stripped to the waist, an imaginary cape lightly blowing in the hero wind). 

Yes, that's right, in full costume mode I am pajama pants, no top and a cape—likely a red flag with gold hammer and sickle only 'cos my awesome friend brought it back for me from Asia and it's the only readily-turned-into-a cape-like object in the house. And when I step out of my orgone machine, especially after the daily cycle and sweat has slicked my form, I like to stand in hero pose with hands on hips and let the air kiss me cool.

Though I do have to admit having IBS as a disability somewhat undercuts the heroic visage, especially if you shart mid-battle. Even if you don't suffer full seep it's going to likely be noisy and noisome. 

That's when you must deflect.

(points at villain during a fight-pause-for-dialogue moment)

"It was you."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Then three became two

The boy chicken is with us no more. For he'd matured enough to achieve the natural desire of the rooster which is to make fuckloads of noise for no purpose than to irritate those that hear it and it was time for him to leave the show.

Off he went, having one last look out the back window as he was driven off to a farm to live out his days in an idyllic paradise for chickens. An actual proper farm for actual proper better life quality and not a covering lie like my mother told me about the similar sounding fate of my then cat after it killed one too many birds. 

So now we just have two chickens, both girls, girls who have yet to lay. We'd wondered why they'd not laid eggs and on consult with the nice person we handed the boy to it turns out it's seasonal. They don't lay again until Spring. I'd not realised that, and I presume barn chickens are tricked into laying all year via lighting and some such. If that is the case then I wonder how free range producers account for the change in seasons without being able to resort to controlled lighting and cooping. Electrolysis? Peristalsis? Bees? Vacuumed-bees?!

The chicken's fenced-off section of the yard is now the chicken equivalent of the Wall from Game of Thrones, with the fence now roof level instead of waist-high due the to chickens' ability to flap that high and bypass that height. Okay, so maybe the new fence is not "Wall" high but still double the height of the last iteration and now fully effective Vs their ability to bypass it. They look more like prisoners through the mesh of bamboo and old screen doors that make up the wall. They certainly glare it seems with more menace and upset. Plus I think I saw one of them with a sharpened toothbrush strapped to a talon.

So we have about six months of looking after two chickens with no prospect of eggage. That's cool, the grand chicken experience has thus far been fun and without the horrors that I experienced of chickens from my childhood that included incidents such as what happened to nine-year-old me when I was once swarmed and bitten by some nasty chicken-dwelling insects and resulted in me abandoning the egg collecting expedition, screaming and pulling at my clothes as I ran across the dusty earth for the back of the farm station's laundry so I could get under water to drown the fuckers. 

Nothing bonds a family like a grand chicken experiment that, touch dust, does not yet involve the swarming of parasites. 

I think there's something in that for all of us. 

UPDATE: We got back from seeing a movie and saw that the "Wall" had partially collapsed in our absence—still up, but slanted in the middle and a wide, flappable, gap twixt it and the side of the house. The chickens, now conditioned coop chickens, remained in their coop. Good chickens, sweet chickens, stay in your home. I know, swap "chicken" for "victim" and that all sounds like the mad rantings of a dungeon dad.

Stupid hands!

I have a poor grip and, thanks to fibromyalgia and the return of anxiety, my hands have a slight tremble and my fingers have a tendency to spring open of their own accord.

When transporting objects in said hands then it means I drop stuff a lot. It's incredibly irritating. And in classic MyLastName fashion I shout out at them "stupid hands!" when it happens. A MyLastName tradition that I share with my Dad of to immediately declare whatever annoyance just happened to be "stupid" then name the thing that vexed us most in that moment (1).

It's still delightful at dusk here in the nation's capital, despite the encroach of early-Autumn, and we've been having barbequed meats made cooked in the outside gas barbecue. theWife got these delightful soft, plump white rolls to go with said meats and this morning there were three buns left over.

I decided to crisp one for breakie—into the combo oven on convection at 180 for 16. 

After the machine went ping I went to retrieve the bun halves. As I pulled the them out my left fine-trembling hand popped open.

The bun half fell. 

Now the three second rule (2) is a furphy, your object lands in an area with bacteria on it and if you retrieve and eat that object you will also eat some of that bacteria. It's not like a clarion call goes out across one square metre of flooring to the rest of the bacteria in the area and they then en-swarm that dropped object but only, and only if, that object is the for at least three human seconds (about 46 quailtoons to bacteria),

But I'm one of those risk management people that goes "well, it doesn't seem dirty" and because I can't see the swarms of germage that's now on my intended edible I likely proceed to eating that edible. 

This time I couldn't. For the bun half ... landed ... upside down ... in the cats' water bowl. 

The only way that could have landed anywhere worse is the cats' litter tray and if that had happened you'd have to ask yourselves why we'd sited the cats' litter tray in our kitchen beneath our convection oven. That would imply we're the sort of lost poor broken people that end up on Today Tonight with their mental illness made fun of for the rest of the world because we're hopeless and we just can't look after ourselves and we need some perfectly formed and coiffed field reporter to ask us questions about our hopelessness then do concerned noddies to the camera all the while they hope that job with CNN Asia comes through and they can finally work out of Honkers.

I'll risk manage tile or linoleum floor, even if that space is geographically prone to the transit of cats, but I'll not risk partial sog from cat water. 

Stupid hands! (3).

UPDATE: As I got a drink from the bottom of the fridge I knocked a sealed tub of beetroot which rolled onto the floor. I cursed at myself—"stupid trembley-hand man"—as I groped to pick it up. 

"No," said theBoy, defending me from myself, "you're not stupid. Don't say that."

Aw, that made my day. He cares so much about me. 

(1) More than once during my recent stay then evacuation with Dad following the death of my mum I heard him yell "Stupid X!" with X = computer, oven, legs, stereo, radio, dog, pancreas et al more than once. 
(2) Also known as the five second rule to Americans. 
(3) Technically, it was just Lefty that opened. Righty held on to its bun half. In retrospect I should have just yelled "stupid hand!" or, indeed,, "stupid left hand", but our MyLastName muscle memory for immediate response of "Stupid X!" doesn't allow for fine editing on the fly.

Friday, March 20, 2015

There and back again

I walked to theBoy's school for assembly. I haven't done that in ages. It was an awesome event—his school is most excellent—and then I walked home. As I walked there, and as I walked back, I felt great. I reflected on how much I've healed in the past months and how much better I feel now. All that pain and anger of the past is being let go and instead of fixating on pain I simply got to enjoy walking outside with no time pressure.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

People with overly loud vehicles

You know the sort, they're loud because they've been tinkered with to make them louder. There's a major road out the back of my shed and a particularly loud muffler-rich effort will actually vibrate through the outer wall, me, and the other wall. 

Sometimes it's so loud and vibrating my fight (slash) flight kicks in and I retreat into myself for a moment as I force logic to repel boarders and remind myself nothing is actually going to attack me. 

Oooh, overly loud vehicle people, you do vex me—a hex, a hex on all vexers!

UPDATE: Well, I saw him. Him and his offending vehicle—a chopped Harley. He was riding along in a classic biker's ensemble of bandana under helmet (I think), wraparound shades, a long ZZ-top (slash) Duck Dynasty beard and wearing a flannelette shirt. Not that I have anything against flannelette —in the early '90s I wore flannelette shirts 'cos you could get a one from Woolies for like seven dollars and I was surviving on $135 a fortnight (1). My point is more than he wasn't wearing upper body protection which means if he comes off his customized hog then he will probably shred some skin.

I watched him chug his monstrosity along the road, clearly comfortable in his position as lead cause of unnecessary noise pollution in my suburb—and our suburb has a fire station (which is, of course, necessary noise)—and delighting that his freedom trumped everyone else's. 


(1) I got the then equivalent of Austudy—the payment to single students—from my mum because due to my parents' combined income and my then age I was ineligible to claim it. So she gave me the equivalent—with the added benefit of her cheerfully threatening to cut off any financial support if I failed any units. That did irk me at the time. 

A lesson learned

After singing a song about sucking out your child's "youthful essences" don't then just appear a minute later in the semi-dark, holding a straw and advance with eyes gleaming.

Or they will flip out.

A proud moment

We had a parental first. We showed theBoy The Holy Grail.

He loved it. It's already seen it once more of his own accord.

Favourite scenes thus far include the Witch, Brave Sir Robin and, thanks to the ladies, the perilous Castle Anthrax

Passion passed to the next generation.

It's the cat equivalent of a horse's head in a bed

I took some downtime to recover from return of anxiety, cashing in some owed leave. I had a glorious sleep in, actual listening-to-the-falling-rain sleep then got up. 

I felt great—a proper night's sleep.

I then walked into the lounge and on then through a giant mound of partially-digested cat biscuits. There was so much content formerly belonging to a cat's stomach that it seemed like the first cat chucking up sparked the next one and it threw up too. I had to change pants 'cos my hems got wet from mound contact.

The next twenty minutes was spent using kitchen towel to grab the worst of it then fluff the chunky squished remnants up out of the carpet before I vacuumed it.

As I vacuumed it occurred to me that perhaps it was deliberate. That the cats didn't like me being at home during the working week and the mega-vomit was a reminder of it.

It did actually remind of that time my vegetarian friend threw up a pyramid of brown rice and we got N— the hippy to look at it and he threw up as well. 

Anyway, message from the cats duly received. I'll not mess with their territory again. 

Cats, always up to something.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Revenge defeated by words, words!

theBoy has an endearingly annoying habit of drying his wet post-bath body on the still worn clothes of other people such as us. If I'm lying on the bed when he comes charging out, glistening, and sees me then he will yell in delight and attack, rolling on my back to tumble dry.

I came into the lounge post-shower and saw him. He was naked, towel at his feet, but dry. I was naked and I was wet. Finally, my chance for revenge.

I darted forth and tried to jam my butt at him as he was standing by theWife and he yelled in annoyance right in her ear. I was rightfully admonished for sparking him off and during that he escaped to a safe distance.

Then he pointed and denounced me.

"You horrible brute!"

That's a fair cop. 

UPDATE: A week later, two nights running, he did it again. I was lying on the big bed, reading my tablet as theBoy and I did a Storyverse session as he sat in the bath, and when it was time to dry off instead of grabbing his towel he headed for me. I ended up flipping him off and drying him with a long sausage body pillow before he escaped and had at me again. theBoy!

Six in a room and five of them for me

I had another rehab meeting. It was myself, my supervisor and four others—all part of my newly-established Mikey pit crew of support.

We were in a then-empty office for an SES person, a large one with a meeting table and an L desk. Only four of us were at the table, the other two in the arm of the L. 

They were all there for me, to help me with the return of anxiety and ease me out of my tremulous state. 

I cried, but only a little, and not for long. The meeting was to help me plan to how to deal with extremes of emotion in the workplace and how my boss can tap me on the shoulder and whisper a phrase to let me know I've cooked off if I cook off without realising. 

I felt supported and I felt looked after. I was wounded when they told me I'd impacted on those around me, my distress having distressed others, but I fully understood. It can't be easy working near a person who occasionally emotes with audible sighs, hissed swearing and, yes, occasional angry crying. I've already started checking that behaviour and deliberately adopted an overtly cheerier attitude—and that's actually helped make me more cheerful.

After each moment of anxiety I quickly bounce back. I didn't lose any time from work save for appointments. And while it was a full-on week for work and health it was bearable because I was supported. 

I told my case manager I wouldn't change what happened to me—that my abrupt departure saved my life and healed me of self-doubt—even as I now deal with anxiety from revisiting the past.

It's now three steps forward, one step back with that revisit done. The future gleams with the shining whiteness of a laboratory as seen in a shampoo commercial.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

My shed has fleas

My shed has fleas. I realise this now after about a half-dozen flea-bites atop my now burning-red-with-itching feet. 

I sprayed the area down with Mortein, hopefully eliminating the bulk of the nasty little fuckers—who are only doing what nature intended in chewing on the delish tops of my yummy man feet.

Actually, no. I have, as one podiatrist said, "the worse feet ever seen". Totally flat, flared out the sides and half-ragged nails in scabbed-over nail beds. It's a true horror show. 

Fortunately I rarely get to see them. 

After I sprayed the area down, and after a wait outside, I came in to see a roach dying on its back on the shed floor, its little legs kicking feebly. 

I knew I had to gift it euthanasia. I couldn't use my grabber to do it, and get roach muck on a claw-tip or the butt, so it had to be something I could happily chuck. 

"Ah, some bamboo!"

It was about the length of a high school ruler and I used it to try to squish the roach dead through its middle part but I couldn't stab hard enough to kill it without risking falling. As I pulled the bamboo from it its body to try and land a better death-dealing blow it was flicked out of view, presumably still living but with a squished tummy to also think about it as it died slowly from the gas.

That's when I realised—because I could not longer see it, then it no longer mattered.

That's acceptance, right there.

Oh good lord

I re-watched Tyrian's second trial by combat—Game of Thrones S04E08—and thus re-saw the somewhat unpleasant nature of the loser's departure. There's a birds-eye shot of the post-death unpleasantness that looks especially unpleasant. Like when the bloated carcass of a dead fox has been exploded by a tyre and chunks of matted fur are sprayed across the tar.

I recoiled at the ghastliness of it all and thanked the probs that has me sitting happy and pretty in my chair and far from days of like-yore that basically consisted of organised bullying.

We have a new starter in our area. We were talking about a region of the world which is where her parents are from and she introduced herself and what faith her parents practiced. She then added matter of factually "but I'm an atheist". 

I welcomed her as a fellow member of the "there is no God!" club. 

Maybe it's different in Australia that being open about rejecting all chance of the supernatural isn't a big deal? No one seems to care that much as best I can tell. 

I remember listening to a Maron podcast and in the show they talked about faith. The guest said, I think, that he was still a believer but this fact had startled other comedians. They were all atheists and couldn't understand a reasoned person wouldn't come to the obvious—to them—conclusion about faith being a relic and cultural affection and in no way an actual reality of supernatural genesis then divine over-watch. 

My father is a man of faith and in my mother's passing he embraced all the comforts that his faith entails, including the idea of life beyond where my mother, with a spankin' new youthful bod, will be waiting for him.

I like the idea that we all wait when we cross over and there is a waiting area to cross over into. It would be nice if there was something more and I envy those people who believe that there is. 

The faith-dwelling rituals of mum's farewell were cathartic. The picking of hymns for the service and an instrumental for her cremation, a verse from the bible, and the other tat of the formal fare-welling process. It gave us scope to grieve, a process to follow and a chance to stand up in front of people who knew her and tell them that we loved her, that we loved her life, and to thank them for coming out on a weekday afternoon when they could be at home sleeping in front of an infomercial.

My father's faith and their death-mechanics was an agreed framework by which her farewell could be processed.

Though after mum's service I could have done without the close-talker elderly couple who didn't understand personal space and who kept creeping forward at me with me backing up until they literally bailed me up into a towering stack of chairs with nowhere else for me retreat to unless I did a comedy hole-through-the-wall-style exit through the now recoiled and buttoned-back room divider screen that was likewise blocking my escape. 

Old people; why do they keep trying to huff on my youthful essence?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Career high point and Mikey's pit crew are at the ready

I had a recent career high point when I got to represent my organisation in a globally-renowned wellness event. I'd never been so when I heard tickets were going to the first who got in I made sure to get in a good four weeks after they became available but yet to be officially announced thanks to being involved at the periphery of the event's planning.

A fellow mobility-impaired person was at the event. We swapped stories of bodily woe, about how we dealt with our mobility impairments—such front-loading on pain and anti-inflammation meds to deal with the agony that was to come—then launched ourselves into an event synonymous with mobility. We both made it through, even though by the end ol' righty leg was dragging, while my comrade had but a light limp.

I would never have had that opportunity had I not had my catalyst for change. It's near two years since I literally went insane—proper literally, none of this figurative-usage—but there I was, in the middle of a massive event, and feeling the love. As I texted the organiser afterwards I am happy, I am healthy and I am stoked I made the right choice in taking my new role because it meant I got to do things like that.

I have a new mental health plan raised and a new how-to-avoid-emoting wellness plan to lodge with my case-manager (1). I've had nothing but support and praise for me as a person and as a public servant since I rolled into this new role and even though this job has moments of acute mind-gibbering stress like my former role because I am supported and I am cared and I know I will succeed, even excel, at any and all tasking.

I directly improved lives then and I directly improve them now—and this time with love, care and support. 

Wellness for the win.

(1) The return of work-induced anxiety, compounded by my mother's longed-for-yet-horrid passing, has meant I am back with case-managed support. I get two support people and my rehab peep even has a protégé (1a). Part of this support is a mental health emotions control plan for me to list all my anxiety triggers, what steps I can take to avoid the triggers and what I can do when a triggering moment occurs. For example, if I am getting upset and crying (slash) yelling down the phone to an also-victim that I should not do that. My doctor also said I needed a safe word or phrase I can give my colleagues to say to me if I fall into an anxious state that they can use to confirm I've gone into fight/flight mode so they can help me. If I hear them say it then it means I know I'm emoting and I have to take a break. Because the trouble with anxiety is that you can be in an anxious state and not consciously realise. It can just turn itself on, in the background, then build and build...
(1a) While the protégé couldn't be part of the recent meeting that I was stressing on, he offered me support, reminded me I was in a safe place with lots of help and people who genuinely cared and looked after me and that this was but a moment in time that was uncomfortable in the now. Wow, he fully stepped up, without prompting to offer me direct support and care when he saw the anxiety writ upon my face. The force is strong with this one... 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Just how far I've come

I saw one of my former bullies recently. He was visiting with one of the senior people on my floor. I wasn't expecting him, I've asked to be warned if he'll be around, but yet, there he was.

There was a high stress moment on when I saw him and at that second I knew I'd won. That I didn't fear him. That he can't do fucking shit to me.

Later, due to somewhat unusual circumstances, I even held a door open for him as he and a group went through. He didn't look with intent at me, nor I at him. Just two masses of meat passing by in that moment. 

It felt good to take charge of the high stress incident, to step up to help my colleagues even though I when I walk I always walk in pain, and to simply ignore the presence of a man who'd done his best to damage me.

I am slowly but surely freeing myself from the past and ready to onrush the future. I am far more healed than hurt and far stronger than I've ever been.

I am a honed, fucking awesome public service machine that leaves treads of fire like a fuckin' DeLorean.

WFTW (1).

UPDATE: The next day as I was in the lobby signing my new rehab case-managers into the building for my meeting and I saw two of the oldwork bullies; him and one of the others

They'd had come to an appointment with a senior person on my floor and I'd forgotten that they might be around. I'm certain they saw me as they walked in though the gates—though they didn't look at me as they walked past in front of me. I hadn't seen "the other" since just over a year ago when I caught sight of them at an award ceremony, fled the area then cried at my desk. 

Yet, in spite of my sighting of spiders (2) I didn't suffer an anxiety-spike, though I did take my rehab people the long way around to my desk so as not to run into them. And, after a short while, my meeting began and I once more told my tale of sorry woe, about how I'd had to emergency-eject from my beloved former role, all the while knowing as I spoke that two of the three offenders that caused my abrupt exit were sitting not less than 30 paces from me in another room.

Thanks, Universe, thanks for that. 

I cried a little when I spoke to the new members of the Mikey pit crew, and I was angry but not furious. After telling my story I was then able to talk about how positive I felt about what I was doing now and how supportive everyone has been since I left, as well as ease their concerns by telling them all the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy tools I've been using to address anxiety and occasional grief.

They have no power over me. I am doing well-work in a well-place and I'm far away from them and their fuckholery.

WFTW, indeed.

(1) Wellness for the win (1a)
(1a) My younger brother did student exchange to Germany after high school. When mum sent him letters she'd end them with DMTW which stood for "Don't mention the war", a favourite Fawlty Towers moment from when Germans stayed at the hotel. My brother told that story at the memorial service. I laughed richly and loud. That was so Mum. 
(2) BNB, or "Beloved New Boss", calls these anxiety-inducers "spiders". In that my triggers for anxiety—like seeing my abusers walk past—is just like someone who is scared of spiders seeing a spider. The trick is gradually get used to the idea of their presence, to suffer seeing them then to claim ownership of the fact that spiders are no threat.  And, here I am, just a short while later after seeing not one but two of them, and I am travellin' fine. 

Specks of red

I'm a pale man, a man who does not like the sun. A pale, hairy man.

On my pale hairy skin I have these occasional flecks of red, like a melted comma, that are sometimes lightly puckered up above the skin. You can scratch them away though they still have a reddish mark left as an indent if you do.

I once asked a doctor if it was anything to worry about and that doctor said no. That it's a common thing. After a quick light Google they're probably something called red moles.

As I sat with my dying mother I saw that her skin of her upper arms, pale like mine from her days spent indoors, had the selfsame red specks—her arms like mine save for the hair on me and the mark of age on hers. 

I never knew she had them until that moment. It was something we shared, that I'd gotten from her, but we'd never talked of. I don't even know if she knew I had them.

It made me feel closer to her as she itched to leave the planet, that I was a true part of her and that traits she had I shared with her. 

She lives on in me, in blood and in mind, and in her children and grand children.

Cue a monkey hefting a lion cub.

Farewell to theMum

A few weeks ago my mother died. She'd been in full time care for dementia and MS since 2011 and her greatest fear was going gaga like her mother and her mother before her. "Kill me if that ever happens," she'd hiss at us boys and our current ladies.

Her bladder had become infected—one of the common conditions that occur when you have a catheter—and the infection couldn't be staved off with antibiotics. She was sent back to her home to die, unable to swallow in her last three days of life as the infection claimed her. 

Her death was ghastly, her final hour one of the most hideous events I've witnessed. And with micro strokes having robbed her of speech and unable to babble in her demented way she no longer became the mum I lost to dementia; she became my mum again. And every spasm of pain and angst that crossed her face was happening to my mum. 

My mum's death pulled the lid off some hefty built-up anger and my staying with my somewhat frustrating-yet-grieving dad whilst waiting for my brothers to get back from overseas eventually culminated by my chucking a fit, screaming insults down the driveway—a family tradition from childhood—then packing my bags to fuck off to a hotel. I didn't end up speaking to my Dad for two days but thanks to brokering from my now arrived brothers we managed to heal our differences in time for mum's cremation then memorial service. 

Mum's passing was a surreal, nasty, hilarious, utterly messed-up life milestone of the death of the first parent. It brought up a lot of anger about childhood hurts and following my escape to a hotel the stress brought on a severe anxiety episode that lasted 48 hours, involved me staggering around the fringe of the CBD of my old home town from afternoon through to night tearfully raging at an invisible father and culminated in my first ever migraine the following morning. I ended up on the tiles of my en-suite, vomiting then lying on the cool floor with my head on a towel until the nausea passed enough for me to shower then collapse into bed. 

I'd come up without theWife and theBoy, getting to my old home town to be with mum as she writhed unto death, sleeping on mum's floor in her home so she'd never be alone as she died. My family arrived the night of the cremation and in time for mum's memorial service. Thank fuck. I don't think I'd have been able to go to either parts of mum's finale without knowing they were coming to be with me.

The memorial service was the highlight. My mum was an incredible woman who had an amazing life adventure. So we got to tell the crowd at her old church stories of her throwing herself into the world and her accomplishments, and there were far more laughs than tears because it was a rich celebration and no way a commiseration. 

She was perhaps the most incredible woman I've ever known. Not only in her achieving what she achieved but in her living—proper living with an active life—with MS which robbed her of her legs in her last 15 years. Fuck, even after she lost the use of her legs she still kept working until retirement, working from the back of her scooter, winched in and out of the car at the start and end of the day.

Mum didn't deserve the agonising death she received, courtesy of fuckwits who moan on about the slippery slope of euthanasia but have never had to hold the hand of a dying conscious pain-wracked woman as they withered from thirst, hunger and madness of infection when she could have been put to sleep to then die in peace. 

But in life, fuck, what a woman.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I want to be part of the event!

We have chickens—three, two girls and a boy—who now are a fixture of family life and who dwell in the back corner of the yard behind the washing line and under a now=pruned tree.

Tonight one of the fuckers vanished. It was like a chicken version of Keyser Söze, and the vanished one was "Rocky", the chicken theWife saved from almost certain death when she gently brushed its infected date with antiseptic when it was a chick afflicted with septic bunghole. 

The other two chickens were in the coop but "Rocky" could not be found. It was dark so both theWife and I had torches and spent a futile 40 minutes trying to find her in our yard—often standing without moving or a sound to catch any possible cluck on the wind that would reveal her locale.

This all happened after theBoy went to bed but he couldn't contain his excitement at the sounds of serious searching as he lay in his bed waiting for sleep so out he came in his onsie. 

"I want to be part of the event!" he demanded hotly when we told him to go back to bed.

I gave up first, convincing theBoy to come inside, and after a while theWife, defeated by the mysterious vanishing of her anally-healed chick—the chicken closest to her heart of all the seven we've now had (1)—gave up too, hoping Rocky's chosen roost was safely selected.

After watching TV for a bit, when we were between shows, she went out for one last look.

Then, success. The Rock was found high in the tree that covers the coop far below, theWife claiming a six sense of a sort told her to look up and she caught a sight of her silhouette. I'm not sure how, though, theWife then prompted the vertically=lodged sleeping Rocky to flutter to the ground to be then safely swooped up then en-cooped but I'm presuming it involved a stick and insistent prodding. 

theBoy was still awake to hear the good news that the conclusion of the event—tentatively named "The case of the mysterious vanishing chicken"—and he got to drift off to sleep happy and safe in the knowledge the story had a happy ending. 

Chickens—lots of fun but occasionally vexing. And I could do with less of their shit being about the place. But that's the price you pay for dancing with animalia (2).

(1) We got six chicks and all survived to maturity. Alas, five of them turned out to be boys and four of them went back to the chicken lady to live out their days until suppertime. We kept one boy for company of the Rock, or "Rocky", and the chicken lady gave us a definite girl by way of thanks for the four boys.Thus we have the three we have. The girls have yet to lay, though theWife put a hard boiled egg in their coop by way of a hint, and I presume once the laying happens it's off to the chicken lady for the surviving boy.
(2) I have great difficulty in bending and getting to my knees. Which means theWife changes the cats' litter. Tonight's clean involved piss and shit outside the box and that's never a fun job to clean up. Go theWife!


If it had not been for the threat of nuclear war that bedeviled us from about 1949 until 1993 then there would be no internet.

I wouldn't be here in Canberra typing letters that anyone in the world can see. And if it wasn't for the internet we wouldn't have come together as one planet. 

We are in this together, all of us. It's the one wet, rock drifting in space and now anyone, anywhere can tell anyone in the world anything they want about what is happening to them and in and to their environment.

So thanks, threat of imminent global (human) destruction, for the internet and making us the one village.

Those ISIS fuckholes and other ghastly remnants of dated societal dross will be dust on the wind soon enough. And our sad dependence on fossil fuels will end within a decade with the healing of the planet then to begin.

We're getting there. And how do I know? Because one of the Google dudes bought 97 per-cent of an Hawaiin island.

Google won't let us drown ... will you Google?


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Booby trapped!

I just cleaned my teeth. I was about 20 seconds into the brushing when I realised it wasn't just toothpaste I was brushing with but also hand soap. 


Epic cry in the workplace? That's a major red flag

With thanks to Saturday Night Live.

I had an epic cry today at work. I was offsite to my normal building but it happened where I'd ended up following my graduated return to work following my escape from oldwork. I'd been in a meeting with like-minded reformers and I introduced myself to the group with the sorry tale of my exit and my burning desire to improve how people relate to each other in the workplace. 

The anxiety fired after I talked, and I ended up stealing about a sixth of the total meeting time to talk about my shit and my ideas, so I had fear of annoying others combine with the hurt of anger that should be past. By the time the meeting ended I had to hold in the tears and consciously steady the tremours in my hands.

I made it back to near my borrowed desk then wailed. But, I was surrounded by love—for some of those former desk buddies who were in the meeting commiserated with me and offered me tissues to blow.

I had a silent agonised howl at my borrowed desk after I sat down that went on for about 10 minutes until I pulled myself together and arranged to return to my proper workplace. On arrival my boss took me into a room to debrief and was able to puncture my hurt and grief with actual concrete how to help me queries so she can be better able to help me ward off returns of anxiety and despair. She reminded me that I'm doing positive work and I'm valued for my skills and that the best revenge is doing well.

So I will try. It's been nearly two years since I had to pull the the lever on the ejection seat to blast my way clear of oldwork and, for the most part, it's been a painful-then-healing voyage of rediscovery of my worth. That I am a valuable person with valuable skills. 

That's what I need to concentrate on out of all of this. Fuckwittery set me free but I imprison myself if I dwell in the house of remembered pain. 

I stayed at work for the rest the day, even though in the aftermath of my epic fit I was tired and anxiety-ridden and just wanted to flee, and managed to continue to do quality work in spite of what had happened. 

So I'm still winning. Sure, I have these horrid moments but they will come with less frequency and with less intensity. And even if they do come then I have nothing but support from people who love me and want me to heal.

That's wellness right there.