Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fifteen minutes of wet hysteria

I had a recurrance of multiple space outs atop SoTPC as I rode, a dark swirl taking me out of the moment of watching an old ep of SNL and it was grindingly hard work recognising when it happened then bringing my mind back to the comedic distraction.

Afterwards, as I walked in to the house, ruminating on a tricky problem when—sweaty, angry, tired and exhausted—I thought of a bit from Seinfeld and just started cackling. It went on as I undressed, it went on as I showered, I was still laughing as I dried myself off then got dressed again. I felt like Burns after he cracked up for 36 hours straight after he recalled smashing into that crippled Irishman.

Some days it's like you're wearing the Greek masks of tragedy and comedy only both are on at the same time.

That's powerful wellness, though—to be able to shed the dark like a cast off shroud from a sustained moment of utter joy. But even before the laughter attack, when lost deep in grief whilst atop SoTPC, my inner voice (1) was there telling me this high emotion was happening but now, that it would not last and in the morning that I would be okay—and that I had positive work to do on the morro. My MCBT, the M for Mindfulness, kicks in automatically to steer me to better thoughts. 

Earlier, this morning, it happened as I paced outside. I wasn't lost in the dark, I just had the bright of the day ahead—my brain lapsing into a wellness state without conscious effort.

it turns out I'm resilient as fuck—a Vinnie Jones trapped in a fat little body.

Bullet-tooth Mikey; WFTW. 

(1) Inner voice, always looking out for the entire me. I'm a well-hued fortress of many minds.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bad news delivered deftly by a sweet D—

D— called to give me some bad news. He wanted me to hear it from a kind voice. I took it on the chin, my British stoicism kicking in (1), and then we talked about how we were both travelling. 

I am utterly blessed to have encountered people like D—. We found each other, both wounded, and he helped me recover. And multiple times since my return he stepped up to look after me, to get me through moments of dark agony and howling grief. Then, seeing a hurt I might encounter, he went out of his way to let me know.

When times go dark, or the bad thoughts come, my job is to recognise and re-orient, to think of positive things to do—and to think of all the people who helped me and lifted me back up. 

People like D—.

I wish I could clone him and replicate him across the land, to send a caring D— into the dark places where a D— is deeply needed. 


UPDATE: I've had multiple space outs to the point where I had to purge it. But thanks to CBT I can recognise when a space out happens, ask myself when I realise I've spaced out "is this useful?" and with the presumed "no"  then to move on to fresh business. Yes, the freshest of business!

So yet more WFTW. 

(1) I come from a long line of capable, durable yet depressed British men. Most of us make it and our depression enhances our lives and the lives of those around us, even as we battle the inner dark.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Man flu'd

Flu landed Sunday night. Monday was spent in semi-fevered delirium capped off with two acidic chuck ups just before bed time. And even though I was aching tired I was awake, in the dark, until the early hours of the morning.

I awoke to the cold still there but waning. I haven't thrown up and in spite of a light fever head spin I am otherwise okay—though still infectious.

I'd blame the severity on the "man flu" concept, the idea that men suffer colds worse than women, except theboy had a cold Friday and it seemed milder for him. Or it could be that he had the full symptoms of man flu but just rode them out better than I did.

Already my upgrade seeks to replace me. Good move, theboy...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I updated a tiny button

I spent my day crafting a new graphic for a tiny button—the size of a postage stampfor the front page of a site. I got it approved and up it went, a new map of Oz carved into districts.

It was deeply rewarding work.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


With thanks to The Simpsons.

I went full hummingbird, getting stuck into two tricky bits of trickery and knocked them out of the park before lunch. Then, in the PM hours, I re-aggregated some tasty info then put up new templates, leaving a careful note in the master file explaining what I'd done. 

I made sure to take mindfullness breaks, pausing outside the ribbed concrete kitchenette and before the chairs, round table and window and stretched my neck side-to-side while focusing on breath. Then there was windmilling of arms front and back. But, fuck me, it was a rush to just get stuck into it.

Full-time and kicking it. I've knocked a three month goal out of the way with my six and 12 month goals next.

I'm surrounded by love and support and the work I do is meaningful, engaging and important—you can't ask for better than that.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

An ironic battle anthem

I love "Some Nights" by Fun. for its power and its passion. 

But I know what I stand for and no nights do I lose to worrying if I know.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Nailed it

Oh there were omens before hand. My regular glasses died just as I put them on following the shower—fortuitously I had a back-up pair—and there was a bird-filled dark sky riven with red as I arrived. Then I found a heart-shaped earring of metal and glass that lacked its hook, it seemed so lonesome and symbolic I pocketed the find. So if you followed magical thinking's way you'd think I was doomed to fail.

I didn't fail. I stepped up, did my in-the-public thing, and even though I didn't win I still fucking nailed it. I was washed in post-performance after-glow, enjoying the rush of having actually gotten out a practiced piece in public coursing through me. Later the conductor passed me in the corridor, clapped me on the shoulder and gave me a hearty congrats on a job well done. 

So, fuck me, I did it. I got the fuck back up and did it. Not only that, I fucking nailed it.

I think that calls for a triple WFTW.

(bows deeply

UPDATE: I was worried I'd gone over the five minute threshold and thought for about 15 minutes I had and I'd fucked myself over on a technicality. But I checked the recording and realised I didn't start until 30 seconds in. Phew! I would have hated to have thought I lost on a technicality. The person who won was fucking awesome and deserved the kill. I wish them the best for the regional quarter semi regional final regionals. 

UPDATE2: Remembered finding that earring; rule of threes, had to add it in.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St Paddy's day—a birthday remembered

Today is St. Patrick's day. This time last year the then PM annoyed the Irish by extolling Guinness in his Happy StPD speech. Classic move.

It's also the birthday of my now deceased foster grandmother—who died as theboy was in-utero, so about nine years ago. She would have been 104.

I was working in a remote region on this day some dozen years ago and I can remember sending a birthday fax to her retirement village showing a pic of me (drawn) dancing a jig whilst wearing one of those Leprechaun hats with the belt buckle on it. 

I wonder what the admin staff in the front office thought when it churned through?

As irony would have it she was a lifetime non-drinker having escaped an abusive marriage to a thuggish drunk when younger—and never married again or had children of her own. 

She became part of our family's life when we were living on a cattle station in Western Australia, as a live in nanny (slash) helper in the '70s, but then stayed in our lives until she died, visiting for 2–6 week stretches every two or so years after she relocated to Victoria.

Her mind stayed sharp until the end, though she would cycle partway through all the names of us boys until she hit the right one when she talked to us; "Oh, hello, X, ... er ,Y, ... um, Z!"

I can remember once tapping her on the shoulder then ducking low so she'd spin around and see no one there. Only it didn't work, she'd looked down then rapped me across the shoulder with a wooden spoon. 

Last Xmas I shared stories of her with my older brother who confessed to having done hand brake turns at the bottom of a big hill in our then mini to freak her out after picking her up from the bus station, her likely clutching onto the handle of her pull along wheeled trolley in terror.  

She would have loved theboy I think; his exuberance and total cheekiness would have been both appealing and vexing I suspect.

So I raise an e-glass and e-toast in her memory—she was a classy old bird.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sad face lunchtime experience

It sounds like a shit band—and not just from the un-clever name.

It was ready to eat. The chicken kebabs had been sliced from their pole prison to sit on the salad and rice. It looked fucking delish.

Then I knocked the container from the bench I was sitting on and it fell face down on the concrete path.

If I'd thought about it for a few seconds I would have torn one half of the box and used it to scoop the dirt, food, leaf muck combo into the other half but I didn't—I used my hand. Then I had to dump the grotesque loss of food, wash my hand, then return to the food queue—this time for a small bucket of chips because I couldn't bear the heartache of trying to have what I had again. 

I told the food service peeps what happened and they gave their commiserations. One of them sounded like Arianna Huffington which proved a nice surprise when she said "Hey, well, you know, these things happen."

I kept expecting her to say "Seth" to me as if she was an SNL person doing Arianna at Seth back when he was Weekend Update host. 

I only ate a third of the chip bucket contents before I chucked it, eating just enough of the compact fried potato to dial back the hunger before returning to battle. It felt good to be once more sculpting this and refining that—making things pretty where they weren't.

I admit I was fucked off when the food fail happened, I may have even yelled with exasperation when it occurred. But I forgot about it until now, apart from an e-grouse to thewife, when I decided to write about it.

So yay for bouncing back from a shitty start to the week and a shitty hump day of a lost lunch. My phaser is not set to being phased.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Made the day—hooray!

I'm back to full-time hours but it coincided with an uptick of anxiety, brought on by an anniversary, nightmares, raging IBS then, during the late-morning, a full-on flashback caused by refresher training. 

I was shaky on arrival but following the flashback my anxiety peaked. On return to my desk from a lunch shadowed by pain I was clutching my water bottle and consciously putting one foot in front of the other, breathing through my nose to distract myself from anxiety and trying not to let the tears show. 

But I made it to my desk, I made an arranged meeting, agreed to take on extra work then immediately helped out those colleagues with IT issues. In spite of the anxiety I made the full day—even earning flex.

A friend emailed to ask how I was travelling. I was honest, at that very moment I was still shaking and crying, but in the response declared that it was but a moment and that the moment would pass.

And then the moment passed. 

Recovery from psychological injury is not linear. There are days like this, and there will be more. But they will come less and hurt less when they do. 

Then some day it will all just be a story.


UPDATE: Discovered that I didn't take one of my head pills last night—the pill had gotten stuck to the box. That probably made it all worse and explains why I had trouble getting to sleep. Stupid having to take meds. It's better than the alternative—I shudder at the idea of dealing with chronic pain and depression without them. That's surviving not living territory.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Like Sizzler's self soft serve

IBS is kind of like roadworks in progress, there's a slowing zone and then you speed up.

In the glorious '90s and '00s in Canberra there existed Sizzler, the steak and salads chain. There were two of them, one in the north and another in the south. First the south went, then the north. Part of their charm was all you can eat dessert and that included self soft serve ice-cream, vanilla or chocolate.

So this morning, it's been like that, the last one, curling out. 

I can't believe you read your way through that. I bet that's thirty seconds of your life you'd want back. 

That's how I feel when it's going it—it's not going with ease, it's going with distress, on me, the self soft serve machine that's clearly in need of maintenance as it mechanically rocks, groaning and grunting.

See? Always below the navel. My mother was right. 

Anyway, reverse PAG blows goats; I have proof (points to tummy).

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Face off

I've always been a picker—of skin and nails both. I have welts on my body from scabs picked until puckered. 

I have a beauty on my face, a fat raised scar weal from three years of spaced out face picking, with the remains of dead boils joining like two black holes to form a thickened ridge of scar tissue that gives maximum joy to worry at. 

But then the fucker evolved into two ridges, with a valley of new tissue between, and the left-most ridge was so puckered that it felt I could just rip it off my face in one mighty tug. 

So that's what I did with my spanky new pink tweezers; clamp, t-e-e-a-a-a-r-r-r, no more left ridge. 

Of course the result was bloody, a torn scrape-off my face where beard hair can no longer grow, the hole noticeable and aglow with red.

The relief wash of it gone is epic, but I've set myself a ride of pain for sweat will runnel and wound will scream when the salt oozes over. 

Good one, Memo.

UPDATE: It stung like fuck.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Champing at the bit

I'm mad keen to be back to full-time hours, to be free of the limited time so I can really knuckle down at work.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to burn myself out again. I have set a decent, achievable pace and baked in breaks for mindfulness recharge. But the having to down tools then drift away an hour and a half before the bus home feels like a waste—though I use the time wisely with plenty of reading material and conscious CBT to keep the space outs at bay.

I hate that I have to consciously slow my typing speed. I type noisy and fast, that's just how I roll, and to slow down feels like going 40 kph in an 80 zone. But my clickety-clack style is distracting for my foxpod comrades and I've a duty of care to not give them the irrits.

Once my super quiet keyboard arrives—I am starting an admin process to get one—I'll be able to type at full Mikey power. Which, with a normal keyboard, involves loud punching of keys countered by the different click of the rattling backspace key as I inevitably make a mistake then backspace to try again.

I've already used a spare office for when I needed to crack out at full power in advance of my whisper quiet keyboard's delicious anticipated arrival. 

I blissed out on building a history web page, ratting publications and websites for imagery and copy and taking immense pleasure at clicking through the publish sequence to see the results. I re-aligned the front page of my org's site so quick-clink icons are in immediate view for a standard monitor because I was conscious that a user needed those things more than they needed the strategic vision that was in the prime view spot. It was delicious, delicious I tell you!, work to do and I felt of worth in the new gig. Calico, I know you're watching so I want in. 

I pinged the author of the bulk of the content to thank her for her efforts and she gave me additional content to chuck in. Together we made a beautiful thing. 

That's just super, terrific WFTW.

Monday, March 07, 2016

I felt amazing

For awhile, atop SoTPC, I did. And afterwards too.

It's a hell of a thing to feel.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Thanks, injury

I woke from a nightmare to roiling gut pain. But I pushed through to keep an appointment.

Then, just before the appointment, I shat myself. It was green mostly liquid that didn't seep through but I still had to deal with the ignominy of being a 40+-year-old man who soiled himself and with the mechanics of stall-bound removal of undies, cleaning up then continuing on to the appointment whilst going commando.

I finally got home, had a shower and munged pain meds. So it's another day lost to injury and another day of pain.

But this is just now; it's not forever. My mind will heal and so will my body.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Tralfamadorian times

Psychological injury doesn't let you forget. Try as you might, you will have a space out where you're back there, re-living trauma, like a Tralfamadorian would.

D— asked how I was and I talked about forwards, back and now and it was all hard, every direction. The conversation lay on me like a shroud and I went for a walk to fight it off.

Then I got back to my desk and back to site re-building. Once I worked out how the site nav worked I bashed the re-vamped site into shape. Tomorrow I battle-test links and port over more content.

It's healing work, to build, shape and create how information is accessed and presented.

But I'm on limited hours so I had to leave. I caught a loop bus to get me to the centre then from the centre to home. It meant over 100 minutes to dwell and try as I might I spaced out.

Atop SoTPC, where it's the safest place of all to space out, I spaced out there too. 

After a shower, and a short catch up, I was able to push it away and hang out with theboy, committing fully to the moment with him.

Tomorrow the healing work continues. My future is ahead, the past is behind.