Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thar be EMDR

I started the first session of EMDR. It was brutal having to drill into moments of acute pain from as far back as childhood and I cried more than once. 

But just a tiny little bit and not for long

As with any form of therapy it comes with pain. Like wounded muscles being rubbed back to life, the damaged brain is being massaged but the rubbing and massaging is agonising and the soreness lingers.

It hurts now, but only a little, and not for long. At the end will be wellness.


UPDATE: IBS, tremours, fibro pain sprayed across the back and sub-concious anxiety upon waking. But not conscious anxiety—and that's pretty sweet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The paperwork mountain has been conquered. I failed on the first attempt but thewife pushed it up and over on the second go. 

I feel hollow. I'd expected to fail and the sudden success and its resultant acknowledgement has left me empty. 

I've not cried, I've not yelled. I'm not even in a state of befuddled wonderment. To have succeeded is through the looking glass stuff and I don't know how to cope. That all those forms, meetings, appointments, assessments, sessions and bouts of distress came to something; a positive outcome.

So it's WFTW but is it?

I've had a fuck-ton of medication and I'm about to board SoTPC for some daily anxiety reduction (slash) physical exercise. So that will help ride out the mixed-feelings wave. 

I had a pit crew to help me through this hideous tranche of paperwork, thewife assisted by D— and others. I have no idea how anyone without loved ones or friends skilled at the art of bureaucracy could navigate such a process and both succeed and stay sane. 

Thank fuck for the pit crew.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A beastly battle anthem

"Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys.

There's a lot of passion, rage and wonder going on in this battle effort.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The snaggle had to go

I have limited toe nails, in that I have to pull them off and they take a few months to grow back. Then, if they survive that, they grow into a snaggle and I have to remove it.

Because I've lived a life of nail pulling and or removal they grow not forward but upward, rising like a thickened keratin Ularu from the bed of the toe. Then the fat nail gets a hint of an edge, a dart forward from the bulk of the nail and they snag on a sock then get part-pulled off then have to come off completely.

So it was easier to pre-remove it. From years of OCPD-fueled nail removal, the terrible thing is no tools are required. The thick-yet-pliable nail can be readily pinched between finger and thumb then ripped off in an easy motion, blood pooling in the empty and sunken bed. 

All credit to me—this time I threw the snaggle in the bin instead of tossing it into the lamp corner where the dead skin from my former habit of foot skin picking used to also be thrown. I then wrapped the toe in the hem of my ladies PJ pants to soak up the blood until the flow ceased.

I managed to give the habit of picking feet the heave ho, but not through will or anything like that—bodily degeneration means I simply can't raise my feet to have a robust go at picking at the soles. 

It's stupid habit, to pick holes in your body or raise nails or scars up from your feet or face. But it's just all part of the Mikey adventure—and my weal outweighs my woe.


Not replaced; he's still fucking there

The US Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman—perhaps one of history's most awesome peeps—will replace President Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill, a man with a somewhat lackadaisical attitude to civil rights.

Only that's not the case; he's still going to fucking be on it. He'll be on the back, only in a smaller size. 

What a bizarre dichotomy—a woman who fought against slavery prominent upon the $20 but still with a slave-holding genocidal fuck-hole on the back but in smaller form. Did I mention the slave owning? And the military adventures in Florida and the extinguishing of a community of native Americans and escaped slaves. He was not a good president; he was one of the shit ones.

Symbols matter. All countries, especially in the west, have leaders that now in the twenty-first century we look back on has having a somewhat problematic attitude to, well, just about everything—women, sex, democracy, land, original owners of that land, race, cupping and phrenology. This is the chance to show the best side of America, putting a woman on a bill and an awesome woman at that, but on the flip-side they're leaving the original stain—the worst part of America, the near-complete destruction of an original people and the possessing of actual human beings. It's just nutty bonkers-time stuff. 

(forehead slap) design decision fail. 

Bridge Fun.

During the school holidays I've been busing to work and my route involves a trip over a bridge. 

One morn, just as we roared onto the bridge, "Some Nights" by Fun. came on the bus's radio. I grinned as my ironic battle anthem took me into the day and I sang along to the parts that I knew. 

Some Canberra mornings just fuckin' sparkle. 


A second ping, a cry and a bounce back

I sent out a second ping—a proper, solid one as opposed to the first getting-the-feet-wet exploratory effort—the ping one of my six month goals I set upon return to work. It felt good to have achieved a goal near three months early and I glowed with accomplishment.

The next day my calendar reminded me it was the last possible day to do a set of mandatory training—training laced with triggers and put off until then.

I fortified myself with a Valium, waited a half hour for it to kick in, then warned my foxpod comrades I was fording ahead but that I might have to leave once I'd done it.

I got angry about a minute in. By two and a half minutes I was crying—silent cheek rolls as I battled through. By about 25 minutes I was done, shaking, crying, angry and I had another Valium. 

I emailed the pit crew know what had happened but said I'd use CBT to fight off the worst of the rumination and stay the day, then went for the first of many power de-clench and vent walks. In the lift down I yelled heartily for a good twenty seconds before the lift car stopped suddenly, half way to the ground floor. As the doors opened I realised the solitary would-be occupant probably heard muffled shouting as the car approached only to have revealed but a single person within. 

It was an uncomfortable ride down.

The CBT worked; by lunchtime I knew I could make the day and even though leaden with post-anxiety fatigue and the jitters with gritted teeth I stayed and stayed productive. It helped having my foxpod comrades looking out for me and checking how I was travelling.

The day finished and I bused home. As my bus rolled down a road that showed parl house in the distance I checked home email on my phone and found the second ping got a bounce back—a faint one, but a bounce back nonetheless. 

I had a big stupid grin on my face all the way home. The goal was to send the ping; getting a bounce back was just fucking gravy. 

That's the fun of being a low echelon super competent with a psychological injury. The latter is always with you, and can bring unto you moments of woe—such as fits of anger and acute despair—but it helps fuel the former which was already a blaze of fucking wonder. 

Let's face it; I'm the life-equivalent of a tyre yard fire.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Well played

theboy was in the toilet and I was waiting to go in. So I sang an insulting song while I waited about how I was going to grab his bum when he came out. 

Then he charged out of the toilet, the spiky toilet brush held before him, and he twizzled my arm with the wet, spiky end, having obviously just twizzled it in the toilet before charging forth.

I was not expecting that.

He looked for an improvised weapon—a gross, disgusting, improvised weapon—then met the challenge. 

He promised not to do it again—to attack people with a freshly twizzled toilet brush. But he's set a precedent and I have to confess i will think twice before singing at him when he's in the toilet. 

Well played. 

Ten hours sleep

Oh, it was broken. I woke at 4 am, 6 am, 7 am and 8:17. But, in total, I slept ten hours.

That's the longest stretch since returning to work. Where I've woken, but not to a nightmare, and instead of being awake and ruminating I've just gone back to sleep, each phase riven with strange but not troubling dreams.

It's another indicator of recovery. That my mind is no longer tethered to the past. Sure, waves of rumination come and crash upon my shore, but the tide is going out and the crashes don't hurt as much.


Friday, April 15, 2016

If not me then who?

Part of the delicious adventure that is having OCPD (conscientious sub-type) is holding yourself to a near impossible standard of "if not me then who?"

If you see something that needs fixing, and you know how to get it fixed, then the moral duty falls upon you to fix it.

I've been fixing things since the moment I broke into the world—lights, stains, chips, breaks, holes, divots and systemic failures. The latter I'm especially proud of because I've fixed a fuck-ton of stuff through sheer fucking will and determination. Whenever an opportunity presents itself to make the case for a fix  then I'll take it.  And if I fail on the first attempt I bide my time until another opportunity comes to try again.

I spent the day trying to get a smart form fixed so it wouldn't cut information out of a field when the form was processed. Because I noticed whenever I got the email back repeating what I asked for I saw that the information from said field was cut about 10–20 words in. 

So it was broken and had to be fixed and I spent the day tracking down who could fix it.

Because if not me then who? How can I yell at the world for being broken if I can fix it?

Last year, on my last day before unforeseen gardening leave, I spoke to a leader on his near last day before retirement. We talked about his childhood, study and career. We talked about finding purpose in work and the responsibility we had to do our best. I told him how I wrote statements of purpose and worth on the ex-govie furniture in my shed, a psychological defence against ever feeling shit about myself, and that one of them said "I have the moral duty to help as many people as I can because I can." 

He smiled in agreement, eyes crinkled behind glasses of owl.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to fix or improve the world. It's in my genetics, it's in my upbringing and it's a giant fuck you to everything that stood in my way; I prove my worth by inflicting wellness.

I am the change we want to see in the world—and I'll keep changing things, fixing things and improving things right up until I circle the drain.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A hang nail by dusk light

I went on an A2 ice-cream (slash) generic Pringles run to Coles and when I opened the car door and prepared to climb in I tore back a third of my left thumb nail off after catching it on the lip where the roof meets the door.

I'd trimmed my ragged nails back about a week ago; it shouldn't have caught. But caught it did and off I had to rip it off.

There was a shard of hang nail still in the side of the nail bed that had to come out. I hate hang nails, I loathe hang nails, so I pulled out my wallet pocket knife—a plastic rectangle of slim tools—which contained tweezers and set to work.

I leaned across the still warm bonnet of my car just as dusk was landing and for ten minutes, within that magic hour of light, with finger tips stained with blood, I gently worked the sliver of nail down the side of the thumb and finally managed to tear it free.

I got home, trimmed the rest of the thumbnail back and put on a fuck-off huge bandaid. 

Fucking hang nails. They're never fun and this fucker was a fuck. I bet I get the super throbs when I am in the shower—and super throbs suck the wang.

Curse you, accidental loss of one third of my active left thumbnail.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A good trigger and illumination

On the front of the website was a trigger for me, a reminder—though positive—of past pain. Positive in that its presence was a win, a pain for the memory of my involvement in it. 

Then, in a lift, I discovered they'd replaced dead halogen lighting with LEDs, something I've fought for since LEDs came on the market. Finally that feedback was taken on and actioned.

As I was reading Hawaii I came across a line, and I am paraphrasing here, but the gist was "the inevitable requires action". As in something may appear in retrospect to have been inevitable but that glosses over and negates the action required to make that inevitability actually happen. 

So it may have been inevitable that LED lighting would replace halogens, but I fought for it over several years through different channels and now it is actually happening. 

I am internet Gandhi; I am the change we want to see in the world. 

I felt that today. I felt it seeing the website with the trigger, though with a positive view, and I felt it looking up and seeing the cold light of LEDs glowing soft in place of wasteful, stupid halogen bulbs that have a lifespan of weeks to a year—if you are lucky—against a decade for LEDs. 

Fighting to support people and improve conditions of service is what I do—and, yes, fixing light bulbs fucking matters. Because if you walk into a building with half dead lights you feel neglected and sad and that impacts on reputation, performance and wellness all.

Yesterday, at the peak of the horror walk to my desk, I was telling myself I was in a moment of high emotion and that soon that high emotion will pass—difficult logic to accept in that moment of gulping panic. This morning I walked cheerily to my chair then got to experience a trigger in an almost vaccine-like manner and then my handiwork of a lift car bathed in soft, low energy light. 

Yesterday was metaphorically dark; today was metaphorically, and literally, light.


UPDATE: One lift car complete; two more reported. Super WFTW.

UPDATE2: Five cars done. I'm only reporting the cars that have halogens die so it will be interesting to see how they get on now I'm tracking their lifespan. I also found out from a friend a building got all their lights upgraded to LEDs—something I fought for. It's finally happening—technocracy for the win!

Monday, April 11, 2016

It was a tough last 100 metres

I'm not that good at hiding my emotions, far less so since my psychological injury. This morning I was leaving to catch the bus and theboy called me back to try and close the front door—a floor carpet got stuck in the gap and the door couldn't shut.

He took one look at my irritated face and panicked; "don't worry, it's okay, I'll do it."

He's not even ten. He's not even ten and he had to mollify me then manage me out of the house without my flaring up.

As I stood at the bus stop I was overwhelmed by distress that my less-than-ten-year-old had to factor in and manage his father's psychological injury.

I tried all the tools in my CBT tool belt but could not stop crying as I sat on the first bus. On the second bus I cried again. As I reached my floor and had to walk the 100 metres to my desk I started gulping air as I'd gone into a panic state. I had to force myself forward, tears streaming, each and every foot to get closer to my desk. I got about 20 metres out and cry-rested against a cupboard to control my breathing when a colleague saw me, saw my acute distress, then gently eased me to my chair

I had a Vallium, but they take 30 minutes to kick in, so when the super boss came out to ask how everyone was I couldn't turn around because I was still crying; instead I feebly shouted "I made it in!"

I wrote an email to my pit crew then got to work. By mid-morning I was mostly okay, by lunchtime it was a bad memory. I still had moments of grief wash over, that my injury impacts on my family years on from infliction, but I fell back into the pattern of focusing on positive tasks to do. 

The bus ride home was a little rubbery, only because that morning I'd publicly wept on a public bus, but on the second of the buses I cracked out Hawaii and lost myself in its pages instead of falling prey to rumination. I rolled into home, found theboy, and apologised for hurting his feelings when all he did was ask for help. He forgave me.

I can take the impact of the injury on myself because without my injury I wouldn't have healed the older hurts. 

But I loathe its impact on my family; it's the elephant in the room. The lodestone our family revolves around—my injury and my susceptibility to re-injury.

A child shouldn't have to bear that burden; they shouldn't—and that he does grieves me to my core.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

One ping only

With thanks to The Hunt for the Red October.

Having crushed a three month goal six weeks in I've decided to go for a six monther even though I am but just two months back. 

So I sent a ping out to see if the ping bounces back. 

If the ping returns I'll know it's a go and I can go for the full 12 monther. 

The three, six and 12 plan was pronounced upon me by D—, who literally sat by me on my second day back as I sat quivering in a chair while he dealt with my emails, as a mandatory must-do. That the best way to blast clear of a wreck is to have goals to help you heal and move forward. This advice neatly complimented with that from my psych. That after I space out, and I've just realised it's happened, to forgive myself then think of something positive I am going to do. Plan to, in other words, to inflict maximum wellness. 

It's working. I've found this mental jujitsu auto-kicking in. That if I pace under the patio in my sock-covered feet after morning coffee and before leaving that I am planning for work, rest and play for both the short and long-term. 

Fuck me I am incredibly blessed. I had a horrifying return, nearly crippled on the first day back, but with love and support from friends old and brand new, I got helped the fuck back up along with advice on how to stay up. Not only that, I am in a place that understands my injury and its wobbly recovery and has been there for me every step of the quivering, unsteady walk back into a workplace after a severe relapse (1).

I'm basically Chumbawamba manifest in a single, short hairy form. If, that is, the big C was helped the fuck back up, by those near to them and the just-met. 


(1) I had an anxiety reaction to a sudden drilling noise from pod dismantle and had to flee the work area. I later told my foxpod colleagues about the leaf blower incident and how fight (slash) flight can just kick in. Then, in the the afternoon, construction kicked off again and I had to relocate to another floor until it was finished. Upon return a manager sat with me to make sure I was okay. I think I may just have to nail my feet to the deck.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Too positive for a sad session

I was all set for my first session of EMDR trauma therapy, but it had been so long since I'd seen my psychologist we ended up catching up instead. We discussed all the positives I've experienced since we last spoke. 

The chat was so wellness-infused we didn't get around to the trauma therapy; we begin next session.

How awesome is that? Don't get me wrong; I need to do trauma therapy. It's just that it was delightful it got bumped because the interview with the previous guest, Joy, ran way over time.

Seeing the world through Wellness Vision™ is a remarkable thing; it sure beats the shit out of dank, dark and grim.


UPDATE: This morning I threw up after days off work sick. I instantly felt better and went to work. Naturally, I told people. One person's reaction was "it's too quiet and not as fun when you're not here."

Now that's a compliment. Hooray for antics!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Surrounded by compassion

Last week was tough. I had to re-climb paperwork mountain and some of the aspects of the climb were traumatising. 

I kvetched and my foxpod comrades commiserated then gathered around the circle table to share their tales of horror. Tales so woeful they sounded unrealistic.The sharing was deeply, powerfully cathartic.

I am blessed to be surrounded by caring and understanding people.

When I fell over I didn't just get back up—I got helped up. And I'm still being helped as I heal and adjust to my new working life. 

You can't ask for a better transition than that. 


Saturday, April 02, 2016

Adieu to the last Ronnie

I watched The Two Ronnies with my family as a kid and I fully loved Ronnie Corbett. Plus, he was short, funny and wildly successful—a fact my mother pointed more than once. She had a fixation about my height and was forever prompting to say it was okay I was short when there I was, cruising along, not giving it a thought until, that is, until she came along with her appalling attempt at social engineering me to achieve shortness acceptance—which, by the way, I already had. 

That she was right, that I ended still short but succeeding beyond mortal comprehension, in no way diminishes the hurt I felt when she banged on about it. 

I should, however, note I disliked being a short person in a tall family—in family portraits I look like the dip in a graph that shows the impact of the Great Depression. The worst part was being stood over by my taller family members who had no idea what it felt to be stood over by a taller person. And in inevitable spats, sometimes violent, that was a factor as was my hurt and anger after I'd been stood over once again. 

Anyway, enough about me and losing focus about celebrating the recently deceased life of Ronnie Corbett, a master fucking comedian. Just a master.

For the full show of from where the above clip came from see YT, Graeme Norton S15E05. For the scene of Corbett getting sprung doing coke in the toilets at the BAFTAs see the Extras clips put up at The Daily Motion.

Friday, April 01, 2016