Friday, February 26, 2016


My recovery is progressing but I am still sensitive to fight (slash) flight when a loud or startling noise bursts off. 

theboy dropped UNO shoot, the game that shoots a random number of cards out at the press of a button every 3–5 presses, the plastic-on-wood-floor clatter sparking off a "JESUS FUCK!" as a bolt of fear shot through me. 

I was lying against the couch, knees on the floor while reading my tablet when it happened and I shrank into myself, curled into my body with my arms and fists pressed against my chest as I waited for the panic to bleed off. 

theboy's instinct to run out of the door because he scared me kicked in but, worried for my distress at his going, he was asked to stay in the house. 

Then ... then he came over to me and said "breathe, Daddy, breathe ... it's okay". He then gently pulled my hands and arms away from my chest to let me know it was okay, that I didn't have to still be in the fright pose.

That he can do that, that he cares to do that but that he has to do that makes me so very angrysadproud.


A return power fisting

I was near my old building to catch a bus home and, given I had the time, I walked over to where I used to stand each day when I went for a walk to where you can see parliament house in the distance, the flag on the hill. Then, like back then, I stood with fist aloft shouting into the wind that I was still alive and still toiling in spite of everything and everyone.

What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic. 

It felt good to stand again in my secular victory spot and cry havok. To know once more I am toiling at high efficiency in spite of the administrative constraints on my time. 

I had a gap of ninety minutes between the end of work and the bus and unable to use a computer found a conference room, closed the door and stretched out on the carpet to read Hawaii by James A Michener—a fat tome I'd borrowed from a foxpod colleague from two years past that I found when sifting through old desk tat and put in my satchel for times like this.

As I lay there I remembered I'd been in that room well over a decade past for a conference when I was first in my longest served role—so long ago the conference participants walked away with a 3.5 inch floppy disc of conference information, the disk lovingly sticky-labeled by me and printed with the then organisation's title using its preferred corporate font. 

The fact I went that deep into the detail way back then backs my psych's assertion that I have always been awesome and adversity did not cause that.

Self-esteem set to win.

(adopts hero wind pose).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Enters to Beethoven ... refers to himself in the third person

It's pretty megalomaniacal. It's from his 23 February speech before he won the Nevada GOP caucuses later that night.

I thought Donald Trump would have been done by now. Wow.

Lawn fire

In one of my assessments I once joked that I was out of the frying pan and onto a nice piece of lawn. In that my then workplace was grouse and supportive.

Then the lawn caught fire. 

But with support I activated a process and am in a new role, area and building, It's going well. I feel useful, constructing this and fixing that.

To celebrate an admin win I furtled off for a victory strut with my Mp3 playing "(Nothing But) Flowers". I'm ever watchful for WHS issues and as I strode outside I saw someone teetering along the path in stiletto heels whilst texting. I stopped and watched until she made it to an all concrete area, wincing a number of times as she came within a fraction of stepping off onto soft grass—a full on potential ankle-turner. 

She made it and on I strode.

On the way back I saw a step outside that needs fixin' so I took a photo of it so as to report it to the building maintenance people.

Even on a strut I'm still looking out for people.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Paper tiger

As part of a graduated return there is much admin with forms and doctor's visits. It was at the tale end of the latter, as I was standing there with my pit crew chief A—, that I re-arranged a fat stack of admin on the counter in front of me and in that fat stack I saw something.

I took fright. I started shaking and crying from anxiety. A— took me over to some chairs. She gently reminded me the future is the focus and this is just a moment. We rejoined the queue, finished admin then left, A— taking that fat stack with her.

I hate that I am both fragile and strong. That I can be so resilient yet the mere flash of a paper tiger brings me low. But that tiger came after a good hour of talking horror so I put it down to that; I was cocked and loaded and then a trigger got pulled. 

At work I returned to web site fixin' bliss, reading through content management manuals as I bashed my way through hard mapping a site as a customer would use it. Work you can lose yourself in.

I'm on longer days and with the doctor's visit in the morning it meant, for the first time this year, I was still at work at close of business. The new boss and team were having a moment with email admin and I fixed it; I felt useful.

My psychologist said I need to learn to rely on internal validation, not external. Because while external validation of worth is awesome when it's great, if that is damaged or pulled out from under you then you have nothing left.

I am worthy just being here—I don't need validation from other people or from accomplishment.  

Still, it was nice feeling useful. 

New role, area and building; WFTW.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Logged a bliss-out stretch of web fixin'

I'm on five hour days for the graduated return so I did it in one stretch. It was a glorious bliss-out of fixing websites; the modern equiv of scriptorium scribing.

I got lost in the pleasure of fixing web things and it wasn't until a break at the three hour mark that I realised I wasn't anxious or sad. My future has now claimed me.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Angry sad happy

That I can be all three at once speaks to the power of psychological injury. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Didn't cry; future focus

I had a day without tears. Just then, instead of a space out about the past, I thought of the future, the new role I am doing.

Recovery in motion.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Freecell #32469

It took 32 goes. Probs wept. I'm glad I stuck it out. 

As luck would have it I had to retreat into the shed to avoid loud noises so I put my industrial strength muffs on to block it out. Unable to listen to anything I booted up the game that has vexed me this past week and finally got it out. Perhaps the muffs helped with the concentration? I remember I wore a pair when I finally beat my dad at chess when I was 14.

Freecell #32469, I salute you.

(shrouded remains of #32469 are tipped over rail and into the sea)

Pit crew activate

I had the admin meeting and it went as well as it could. We risked a café setting for the five of us as we discussed the minutiae that comes with a graduated return. 

I cried a couple of times, but only for a bit and not for long. I felt supported and looked after. 

Later I did a handover to a new person from my old area. We went 30 minutes over because it was just so engrossing and enjoyable to transfer knowledge to a willing, interested recipient.

I reached my maximum time and left. I sat outside in the shade for two hours, reading a book and surfing the web on my phone until pick up time. 

See? I got back up. I always do


Out nerded

I am a nerd and know lots of interesting things. I do well in quizzes or trivia nights thanks to it.

theboy out nerded me. 

We were discussing biology and I said egg laying animals don't give milk to their young. He said pigeons do and said "give me $10 if I am right".

I accepted that then looked it up.

Fuck me, he was right. He saw it on an animal show.

Exit $10 from my wallet to his money tin.

Monday, February 15, 2016

This job has worked [0] days since the last accident

Recovery from psychological injury is not linear—it goes down and up and down and up and up (you hope). 

I had an angry cry on the way to work and we had to pull over. So since my return there's just been a single day where I haven't cried either before, during or after. 

But it got better. I still made it in. I had a walk, I worked, I walked, I had lunch, I worked, I had a chat with a friend, I got picked up and I rode SoTPC.

There's more irritating admin ahead but that's also just another part of recovery from injury.

At least I'm recovering. I'm nowhere near back to normal—each day is a struggle—but soon each day won't be a struggle and only some days will be. Then only some parts of those days will be a struggle. 

And then I will be well.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Daw, what a nice surprise

One of the more fucked things about recurred anxiety is hand tremours (slash) finger spring. That's where your hands shake and your fingers sometimes spring open of their own accord.

It's annoying, especially when trying to pick up—and still hold—small objects like pills.

I'm a middle-aged man with psychological injury and multiple disabilities and so I have a fuck ton of pills. To fill the weekly AM and PM dispenser is exasperating.

I went to get a coffee, basically admitting I'd just have the morning head pill—that's the main one—and fuck off the horrid re-fill task until tonight when I saw not only was my pill box fully-filled but there was a special cup set aside with pills for this morning. 

What an awesome Valentine's Day surprise treat (1)—a fully-filled pill box that I, tremble man, did not have to fill.


(1) This, on the other hand, would not have been a surprising treat.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Made the day

I made the day without crying before, during or after work.

This morning I had to get in and send nasty emails away to thewife. I got a burr of anxiety from the re-read, scanning unbidden until I forced myself to stop, then decided to explore the outside of my new workplace to combat the anxiety of the action.

It was a brisk walk, and I sweated beneath my hat, but I found paths that wound around and one that went around the end of the building. 

On return I delved into the new project, losing myself in the laborious checking of site architecture ahead of a refurb. 

I didn't get angry, I didn't get sad. I just got on with my new work.

That I can reach this place of relative calm is down to experience and support. I've been through it before, I'll get through it again—and I have help from people who love and care for me.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

It happened again

Another cry, first a small one, then a big. All in the car on the way to the psychologist for trauma therapy.

Then, after pick up, I got told a bunch of more bad news. thewife handled the delivery of it so well—she delivers bad news for a living—that I am back in a state of befuddled wonderment instead of sceaming as I kick-shred the bark off a tree. 

Modern society; we make it so complex. So sometimes we experience things that modern society throws at us and we just ask ourselves "am I wrong, or is this just fucking nuts?!"

Befuddled wonderment—it's the eye of the rage storm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It wasn't today but it will be soon

There's not been a day since I returned to work that I have not cried—before, during or after. It's part of the journey of return after psychological injury. 

I had one outside cry after an anxiety spike, having escaped the building before the tears came. It was a nice day for it and eventually thewife talked me down to nearly normal and I returned to battle.

One day there will be a day where I do not cry—that's also part of the journey—and that day will come soon.

thewife made me up stamp-sized notes of positivity for my last job. I ringed my monitor with them, affixed with bluetack. But I packed them away when I packed up my desk.

I told D— about them and he ordered that I reclaim them and ensconce the notes on the new monitor at the new desk, a bulwark against the dark waves for when the dark waves come.


Stupid reflective laptop monitor

There's a skylight above me and it affects the laptop monitor allowing me to see what is reflected in the screen. So if it's on the black desktop then it's a dim mirrored version of me staring back. 

Only depending on the angle I can be staring at my balding head, with headband, or at where my pecs and gut meet as that's where my typing hands hover at. 

It'd be okay if there was something decent being reflected back but there's not—just various parts of a bearded, balding, heavyset half-naked man wearing a head band.

Oh well, as P— a co-worker once said, it'd be a boring old world if we all looked alike. And I get the added benefit of theatre since I am basically in a costume of Caucasian would-be sumo wrestler.

Now I have to wrestle with exercise; boo.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Could have done without the death rattle

It's been a year since my mother died, my father and I with her in her last moments. Her last hour was ghastly with ragged spaced-out breaths with the yellow of death spreading from her mouth as each intake grew further and further apart.

Though it was a merciful release, I was in the throes of returned anxiety and her last moments were caked in pain and distress, made worse for her being unable to speak as she died from sepsis over five days. 

If you can avoid being with a person who is dying and in acute distress I recommend it, especially if baked in returned anxiety.

As I rode the SoTPC I was test watching a new show and, like all good shows, it was introducing characters and their motivations in the first ep. And what better motivation is there for a character being forced to take to the road after the passing of their mother.

Mercifully, her death rattle was just thirty seconds of screen time against the last hour of my mother. Like with squeamish scenes in movies, I held my hand out so I couldn't see it and shout-spoke over the top until that bit was over.  

it was an unpleasant reel life and real life intersection.

My mother is literally in a better place—dead—her last three years huddled in a destroyed mind, her last hour pure agony.

But what a fun way to have been reminded of all of that; thanks, Universe.

A Simpsons moment—Krusty records his voice

I think it's the tyres squealing followed by the technician's confusion that makes it work for me.

The Simpsons; quality fucking TV since birth.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Space out self-thwarted

After multiple panic events over several days thewife has had to go into immediate anxiety control, asking me questions to distract me from a space out or a sudden panicked state. She uses a calm voice and strokes my arm of the webbing of my thumb and forefinger. Sometimes she'll ask about current events knowing I love to talk about stuff like that and it takes away introspection on the morning drive in.

The future my focus but it's hard to focus on that. I found myself alone and slipping in and out of now and then. I recognised what had happened then semi-shouted as if thewife was there; "What are you going to do to take your mind off it? Listen to NPR and play Freecell!" 

She helps even when she's not here because if I cannot be me in that moment I can be her telling me what to do to get through this.

She's having quiet time with theboy, reading her kindle as he gets phone time. I didn't want to disturb that.

So I will get back up. I always do, I always will. And I keep moving forward.


She got right on up in there

Earlier I saw the black cat paws deep in a croc—the shoe. Then she stuck her olfactory bulb right on in and took a big whiff.

What's the deal with that cat and theboy's blue croc?



I awoke to a nightmare and couldn't return to sleep. It spawned deep, painful introspection that lay upon me right up until I was dropped off. I tried to get to my desk without obviously crying but I couldn't stop the tears.

I knew I had to get outside to let it out and thus I began the trek to the lifts, but I had to pass D—'s workstation.

I actually stopped outside an office before walking past to collect myself because I didn't want him to see my distress and have to drop tools to help me. I tried, but failed. He saw me, took one look at my tear and horror stricken visage, took me into an office and spent 90 minutes calming me and asking me what my three, six and 12 month goals were. That I need to focus on those and not that if I am going to win and get well.

D— took me from a state of near total mental collapse to one of office normality and I was able to return, sort out admin and have a productive day. I left not wanting to run away but to come back and work hard.

Thank fuck for D— and all the other people who have helped me recover then prosper; to be an even better me than I was before. Soon I start therapy and eventually this anguished dross will burn away.

All that will be left will be steel.


UPDATE: Just one angry cry atop SoTPC. Recovery is improving.

UPDATE2: The recurrant lethargy and fibro I could do without.

UPDATE3: Or the fucking hand tremours. 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Space outs are insidious

I'm listening to NPR and playing Freecell but I've noticed myself more than once autonomically pausing the radio because I am in a space out. It's like my semi-active brain goes "shh, radio, thinking" and I start thinking about things I can't think about and either keep playing Freecell but trapped in past pain or I stop playing completely and just sit there in a full space out.

Then I snap out of it, press play then keep going. 

In the future my robotic butler exo-skeleton will be programmed to prompt me if I fall into such a state. Perhaps with a polite cough? Something with a bit of class, with diamonds and glitter and shit.

In fact I can see blinging one's robot butler exo-skeleton will become a thing. 

Come on, Google, or Alphabet or whatever the fuck your name is now, get onto it—robot butler exo-skeletons.

Back to the radio and the game.

A 19th century explorer's breakfast

This morning I had free range eggs—from our yard destroying chickens—and lashings of bacon and toast, including one piece with honey as the dessert portion of breakfast.

Now I'm going to try and ride the exercise bike for an hour.

I imagined my breakfast was the sort of meal a late-19th century dilettante explorer would have had before setting out for the day, feasting greedily on protein for his exertion whose exploration was totally borne on the backs of the underpaid local labourers making that exploration—and breakfast—possible. There's probably one poor fucker whose only job—due to sheer dint of size—is to carry the gramophone.

It's an old wives tale that you can't swim for an hour after eating, but riding an exercise bike less than an hour after eating a first world feast can't be good either. But I keep having space outs—I awoke on a Sunday before 8 am and had to start reading to avoid one—and I'm in a high anxious state. I need to exercise so at least if I do have a space out the physicality of the exercise thwarts the physicality of anxiety—and drenched in a fear state is no way to be. 

So I set off on today's journey. We have many miles to cover before camp and legend tells of a jungle cat, which hunts at night, so fierce it fears fire nor bullet. I thank the Lord's providence for this hearty meal of eggs, bacon, toast and honey as my one hundred and nine bearers had their two spoonfuls of their local mush. After some Beethoven's Fifth and four shots of my brandy-laudanum mix I am ready to be carried aloft on my jungle pole chair. Off, Off!!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Area screaming drives man from park

It was a fine night. We'd had junk food at a park picnic table and the kids were playing as were other kids.

There was one very happy kid; he screamed every time he was filled with joy.

He was filled with a lot of joy.

The end result was my having an acute anxiety reaction, shaking, swearing, re-living epic, mind-shafting disappointment and having to be escorted to the car and taken home. I've taken two vallium and now I'll lie in the dark with my tablet.

Probs probbing probs—my atheistic go to for Jesus Christing Christ—that was horrifying. Once again I've been driven to a panicked, animal state due to psychological injury. 

It's lucky I'm so resilient. This will all be a story some day and what a story it is that will be told.

Actually, it's not luck. It's genetics, medicine, therapy and support—especially from thewife. I'll get through this, I'll get back up and I will be strong.


UPDATE (February 2017): Just to be clear, yes, I have PTSD.

From well over 30 years ago

For my eighth birthday my mother made a cake in the shape of an eight (i.e. 8), using two donut moulds. She decorated the top with black and white toy spacemen.

One of the white spacemen is sitting on top of the shed bookshelf in front of me. For some reason I have affixed a stretched-out twist tie to its head with a blob of blue tack. Perhaps it's an antennae? 

I'm surrounded by positive detritus as I type or ride, maximising the wellness of this space. 

Positivity rulez!


Friday, February 05, 2016

Stealth mode to activate

I'm a two finger typer and I have loud finger fall. It's from youthful use of computers—and typewriters—back when you really needed to punch down a key.

So I sound like an old-timey telegraph operator when in full typing fury.

No one worried about the noise until now but I'm new in an existing area and it's irritating for them. And I get it—I could see how it would be irritating to me if I was not the cause of it. 

I chatted to some nerd pals and found there's a mechanical-type keyboard I can get that will reduce the noise. So I have made enquiries about getting one and I'll have to take it with me from job to job.

In the meantime I will just have to consciously type more slowly to prevent the rapid rattle click I am accustomed to issuing forth.

Then, when I get home again, I can go hell for leather and be as loud a typer as I want.

It was a big week; a big, brutal week. But I had lots of love and support and was given time to acclimatize. Eventually I'll be back to full efficiency then I'll pass then surpass everyone else.

I'm Mikey; I get there in the end. 


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Seinfeld autotune goodness

These autotune efforts were made by Hulu to promote the fact they stream the Sein.

You've got to love the Sein.

The George one is gold, Jerry, gold!


Zen-like Zen

On prompting from D— I joined my building's weekly meditation group. 

Recently I had my first session.

I sat with 20 people in a darkened conference room and for half an hour we were guided to focus on parts of the body as we breathed with calm, acknowledging when a thought came then dismissing it to return to the focus.

I could do it—I was able to banish poisonous thoughts and I felt the benefits flow. I semi-floated out afterwards. I pinged the coord a thanks, since as the guide he was the spiritual designated driver and he took one for the rest of the room. 

So if I can, I'll go to the next one. Guided meditation has value—and it's yet another tool for Mikey's belt of CBT.


Fiddy busted the slit

At some point theboy gave me a "My DAD ROCKS!" money tin which is about the size of a Campbell's soup can. It can only be opened once as you have to pull a ring like on a coke can.

The tin ended up in the shed, where all his gifts do (1), and eventually I realised there was a bunch of spare change lying about the interior from three years of occasional shed-occuring de-pocketing before riding. 

So in went the spare change to the tin, including a five dollar bill that had lain buried in shed dander for two years under the exercise bike but for some magical thinking reason left in dirty situ thinking that lucky. 

I had to pack up my desk and in doing so all the spare change in the drawers went in my top pocket. I rattled home with sobs to the chink of phat coin. 

I piled the ratted remnants of two years of work-accumulated coin on my study desk then, upon seeing it the next day, realised that all needed to go into the tin.

The coins slipped in smooth, all, save that is, for a fifty cent piece. It got jammed in the slit for a moment before chunking in. The coin had etched furrows either side of the slit from its passage and the next fiddy slipped in smooth.

Yay, my slit gut busted by a fiddy. What a numismatic way to start the day.

(1) When I ride the bike I see all his pressies like cards from celebrations past cards and artwork. I cannot stress how important it is to baste yourself in recognition of love; especially for when the black dog is barking.

Fighting my way back out

The trouble with a psychological injury is that your injury's severity and its impact on your life can vary due to circumstance.

I've woken early two days running and cannot get back to sleep again—cold fury lands and I have to read my tablet—or anything—to keep my mind off it.

This journey is a known one; I've been down it before. So these moments come, and sometimes—like an obnoxious house guest—they hang around for days or weeks. 

I hate being swamped, consumed with anger. Loathe it—even if it enabled me to get things done. So I'm fighting my way back out of anger and trying to find a place where I can move forward without that dead horse I'm chained to. I'll use Cognitive Behaviour Techniques (CBT) to deflect the anger and concentrate on the future.

Be the mirror-less moped driver.

Future WFTW.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A February-based battle anthem

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!

Escorted and protected

D— came in with me, got me to log in then dealt with my emails. It took about ninety minutes. 

He shared his own tales of bearing bullshit and gave sage counsel; "be like the moped rider without a rear-view mirror; no looking back."

D— later checked to make sure I was okay—by phone and in person. He also called people on my behalf to let them know I was alright.

I'd never have met D— if it had not been for all that happened and all that which happened made me a better person.

Fucking hell, life is a wondrous thing; doors close then doors open and you meet astounding people along the way.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Ooh, GOP race interesting

So the primary result for Iowa is Cruz, then Trump then Rubio but all within spitting distance of each other. And now Huckabee and O'Malley have dropped out. I'd love to see the Colbert Hunger Games bit for that.

Of course we're talking the opinion of some near 200 000 people in total but, still, an interesting result. I'd say Rubio's strong showing will lock in the establishment vote but it will end in a three way with those guys—ew!—and this may actually go to a convention floor to sort out.

I wonder what will happen next?!

(crams popcorn as watches the fun).

A Simpsons moment!

I fully love Milhouse. I think it's because I identify with him and his position in the school hierarchy.

Escort at the ready for Mikey assist

When I was picked up off the discard pile back in 2013, having had to leave a former role, I ended up teamed with a fellow evacuee; his exit so brutal he'd moved interstate. 

We were available talent within our organisation, free agents with mad skillz ready to use until new permanent roles had been found for us. The person who picked us knew he'd picked winners—not in the schnoz sense—and got us both to work on assorted projects that needed doing. And we did the snot out of them, in the metaphoric sense, then eventually accepted permanent gigs in new locales.  

D— and I became fast friends and D— became one of my Mikey e-pals who I email amusing thoughts to when I am inspired to do so.

D— was worried about my return to work and touched base to see how I went. When he heard day one had gone total tits up with a terror bolt from a nowwhat?! he demanded to assist. 

So he'll escort me in, have at my computer, and remove any offending objects that will cause upset. 

I've had an incredible career and met incredible people. How fucking lucky am I to enjoy such support and love from incredible people like D—?

So that's double WFTW. I needed help and help came asking.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Down in the pit with the crew

I had back-to-back sessions with various tranches of the Mikey pit crew and it was only in the last session I cried. But I was surrounded by love and the anger and sadness didn't last, a fleeting moment caused by the retelling of a tale (1).

Now it is done—and I'll ride SoTPC with a focus on my future and not my past.


(1) After the second session I ran into P— who had been a member of last year's crew. I got to thank him for talking me through an extreme panic attack that came on just before a meeting. I went from blind un-reason in near-flight mode to approximated-calm-enough-to-continue in about ten minutes. Legend.

Terror bolt from a whatif?!

I'm returning to work soon and was thinking about what I had to deal with when a bolt of pure terror shot through me—a whatif?! for a particular type of correspondence that could be lying in wait. 

It was like the terror bolt blanched through my body, my torso and abdomen clenching in one.

Jekyll took over to calm myself; that this is a normal part of work and if it happens, well, we'll deal with it and there's no use panicking over a whatif?!

Too much blood and treasure has been lost to worrying about whatif?!s so I'll save it for a nowwhat?! instead.


UPDATE: The nowwhat?! happened. I've decided to punt it to whenable?! and focus on the future instead. That's going to be a challenge.