Two Years On…

So here I am two years down the track after leaving my former full-time employer. It’s been a rough journey and it’s still not over. I suppose the positive of it is that I’m still here. I use “suppose” because there’s been times that I’ve been pretty unsure about that. I’ve definitely felt like there’s no point to living several times over this last two years, but fortunately (and I say that with at least some degree of “tongue in cheek”) that’s the level at which it’s stayed; still a “passing” thought that I don’t let take root. At this stage I can still entertain hope that things will change for the better. There’s been some points at where things have looked quite grim yet I’ve managed to deal with them somehow, help arriving from unexpected quarters. Things need to get better I couldn’t hang on like this for another 40 years, but hope’s not been entirely extinguished in me yet.

I feel like I’m almost starting over from where I was two years ago in many ways; I’m sure that’s not the case, but some days it’s hard to see it any other way. The difficulty is increased now though by my inability at the moment to picture a better future. That hinders motivation, which the lack of in itself makes picturing a better future difficult. A perpetual cycle of nothingness and inaction. I find my vision fading: not my sight, but my vision of a future and better situation. That’s the disturbing part of where I’m at currently, like there’s no space for me in the future, no matter which direction I look. I’m hoping that’s not the case and most days hope is all I’ve got. Certainly there’s no extraneous phenomena helping to break down that bleak outlook. I’m glad I still have my two furbags, they manage to bring a smile to my face most days. I’m pretty sure things would be a lot different without them. The value of pets with regard to Depression should never be underestimated. Food & a cardboard box or six seems to be all they ask in return.

Although at times I’m beginning to question if my choice to come off the Anti-depressants (AD’s) was well timed, it’s done and I’ve committed to giving it a good shot before conceding a return to being back on them. That said, I’ve been able to action some things that I couldn’t seem to get sorted while being on the AD’s. Only a bit more time will tell on that one. At the worst they’re on top of the fridge and I can easily start back on them without the effort of having to go get another script filled. I might be housebound a lot of the time, but at least I have a month’s worth on hand and even my worst levels of motivation won’t stop me from reaching to the top of the fridge and start taking them again. As I mentioned in a previous entry I was a least prepared when I came off them to have them on hand if necessary. They’re still there, in reach if required. I’ve re-engaged with a Psychologist, yet another one as my last one has also retired, that’s the second one to retire on me over the last 2 years. Good planning on their part I’d have to concede.

Financially things are a mess, but I’m scraping by most weeks. I could last another six months if I have to in my current situation and the financials don’t change for the better. If I resolve this situation with my creditors as I hope, twelve months is quite likely. Things do have to change in the future, but not drastically within the next week. Breathing space for a while.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been positive changes over these last two years: I’ve adopted vegetarianism, I’ve lost twelve kilograms (another five would be great), I’ve witnessed some wonderful support from my friends and family, financially I’m repositioning for the better. Once I have a better income again I’ll be in a hugely better position over time.

But there are still roadblocks. I need to develop a vision for the future again though, that’s clearly absolute requirement for my ongoing quality of life. If I can’t develop a new one of those I’ll be unlikely to see another forty years. God who would want to without one for that long? It’s both tiring and debilitating being on a roller coaster ride of feeling as if my nostrils are barely above water, then going under for just long enough to feel the choking reflex, back up for a minute or two then down for the same seemingly ad-infinitum. Something will break eventually.

But it’s all about the choices we’ve made: who and where we are is all about the choices we’ve made that have contributed to, and thus brought us to this point in our lives. It’s unrealistic to not accept that.

However I’m not letting it break today. I’ve promised myself to go easy on myself for the next week, take a few steps back and start at the drawing board (or in my case the white board) again. Perhaps I need an exercise in documenting my resources and at least mapping out any sort of plan. At least a plan that doesn’t work provides options for a new one that may succeed. If I stop trying I guess that marks me out for three quarters dead anyway doesn’t it?

Although most of the above sounds morose and hopeless just getting it out has actually lifted my spirit somewhat, I can see even just looking back a few paragraphs that I’m still able to kindle a spark of hope. The question really is can I foster that to a campfire for the remainder of the journey?

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Workstation Black & Blue…

It’s come to my attention in the last few days just how much my study has been turned upside down over the last few months with various “spring cleans”. The very important workstation configuration is critical to getting work done in the quickest and most comfortable way. Clearly I’d forgotten just how well configured my workstation has been: until I realised it had been changed and that’s why all of a sudden I was feeling all this back ache and sense of stress.

So several hours was spent overnight getting it all set back up into the correct configuration again! Desk has been lowered to it’s correct position again, and while I was at it I pulled the switch apart on the electric adjustment and fixed that so that it wasn’t hanging loose anymore. Getting the chair right again has also made a significant difference. It’s not hard to tell when you’ve got it right, no back pain after an hour!

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Set Course for “that away”…

It’s been a while since my last post however I’ve not been doing nothing. I’ve been off the Anti-Depressant’s a month now completely. I’m shocked at the positives that have come from that so quickly.

Now before I go any further don’t think for a minute that I believe that taking the course of AD’s for three years was a bad choice. Clearly it wasn’t: it enabled me to leave the toxic place of work that was driving me to the brink, enabled me to make some other decisions that have since clearly moved me into a more responsible attitude towards the further directions my life will take.

That said, I could probably have come off them 12 months after I went on them after having left the toxic workplace. Working there was clearly the most damaging thing I was doing to myself from a health perspective. Needless to say it’s done now, things are moving forward more quickly than I anticipated. All of this is good. I’ve not had a single depressive bout for the thirty odd days since coming off them.

I’d come to consider that rather than assisting me now, the AD’s were actually hindering me from moving back into the world I needed connect with again. It seemed to me that the only way to know that for sure was to come off them again and see what awaited me on the outside. I had discussed this with my GP six months back and was ready to wean off them when I decided that due to an impending job prospect I’d wait in case the levels of demand on me were such that I still needed to be stabilised. However that situation passed, the job didn’t eventuate and with another prescription renewal dawning I decided now was the time. There were no significant pressures outside the normal and I was dealing well with them. However my life was feeling like I was now treading water in the Sargasso Sea. I was uninspired, feeling creatively hindered and generally weighed down. It felt like it a draft print looks from a laser printer. There but barely.

Against and I must stress the against my GP’s suggestion I decided to come off cold turkey. We’d originally planned a tiered approach until I was no longer taking them: pretty much a two or three month timetable. But given that I now had what I considered the perfect time to do it quickly and without any significant life pressures looming I decided to jump off the figurative bridge.

I didn’t do this blindly or unprepared however. I renewed the prescription keeping it easily to hand in case it was needed. I’m an old hand at coming off mood & mind altering substances via the cold turkey method and confirming no physical risks from doing so with this medication in particular, I decided to commit to the path. I had backup plans in place, friends who were aware of what I was doing and why. They would be ready to assist if necessary.

Once again I strongly urge against this method without certain things in place. This is definitely a case of only if you’re fully aware of what might be going to happen and do your best to plan for it: certainly do not do it without people helping you. As I said even though I’ve had previous personal experience coming off a lot of illicit drugs, cold turkey is not without it’s risks. I cannot emphasise enough that it’s NOT something to go into without your eyes open and other people to be there for you if it all goes to hell. There are risks of physical reactions and extreme psychological reactions including potentially suicide.

A month later, my head is clear, my body feels grounded, I’m awaking from sleep far more refreshed and I’ve been impressed with the amount of motivation I’ve had available to channel into various tasks I’ve needed to get done for a while. I think it’s been the appropriate choice at this point.

I’m now looking forward to the new chapters in my life.

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Monday Morning Gratitude List…

Many years ago when I was first getting clean it was suggested to me that I might make a “Gratitude List” for times I was feeling somewhat negative about things in general. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with that thought in my mind again. So I suppose it might be meaningful to do so again.

  • I’m MOST grateful for having friends. I mean REAL friends, not the fictional Social Media “friends”; friends who exist in real life, have physicality. I don’t have a lot of friends, I prefer solid, deep friendships to the casual. My friends provide emotional support, love, entertainment and a solid grounding to life. They’re priceless, they are the real wealth and richness in my life.
  • I’m grateful for my family. Although clearly as dysfunctional as the best of them, they’re still there for me in the hardest of times, and despite my foibles have learned to take me as I am. My parents have managed to provide me with a solid idea about the profoundness of ethics and values, and that people MATTER. They provided me with a good education and taught me the VALUE of education and knowledge.
  • I AM grateful for living in Australia. Despite my many misgivings about where our country is headed as against many other countries I do believe we still have a chance here to not repeat many of the mistakes that I see other countries making.
  • I’m grateful for my good physical health. I believe having good health is so often taken for granted and it’s only when you know people for whom it can’t be taken for granted and see the devastating impact on their lives that it occurs to you how easy it is to lose it.
  • I’m grateful for a solid education that taught me the value of continually learning.
  • I’m grateful that there are so many people still out there who are willing to stand up and advocate for the weak, disenfranchised and maligned within our world and remind us that there is not justice for all, that there is still much to be done to achieve a better world.
  • I’m grateful for the artists in the world showing us wonderful new ways to see the world around us.
  • I’m grateful for my cats. They keep me sane when no-one else can.

I’m sure there’s more, yet that’s as much as I can see today.

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The Dead Marshes…

I can’t say it was a great weekend of activity, although I did help a friend out with something that’s been holding her back from getting a lot of work done. It’s good to know you can help friends and receive the simple joy and satisfaction that comes with that and the recognise the appreciation and thanks.

Outside of doing that, the rest of the weekend has been spent examining and reorganising my plans for the coming few months. Financially things are just limping along, but it’s not the money so much as the disintegration of the faith in myself and my skill set that’s more concerning now. I know rationally I have a huge range of skills. However at the moment they’re not being used to their full potential. I can see this, but have been feeling at a loss about how to kick start the process again. The vain hope of getting a job again that will use these is solidifying into a figurative concrete wall, grey, uninteresting and unattractive.

Coupled with that is a major lack of motivation for anything, it’s debilitating. It’s not accompanied by the profound Depression that I was feeling 18 months ago, but somehow this is more insidious. The subtleness of it is what’s most concerning. So today I’m spending time regrouping myself mentally and strategising a fresh path for the next 3 to 6 months.

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The Maelstrom…

It seems I’m in a holding pattern, slowly spiralling inwards but not really reaching a destination, i.e. a goal. Financially I’ve slowed the sinking, but the lifeboat is still leaking slowly, with the threat of a major leak constantly a threat. Purposiveness is disintegrating slowly too which is as concerning if not more. I’m steeling myself for a cathartic jolt which I hope is looming.

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Intermittant Communication and Connectivity…

Well I’ve been offline nearly a month now while changing over to the NBN. I won’t say it has been the smoothest of processes by a long shot. It’s been punctuated by me chasing my provider for updates of an install that has been both ignored by NBN for two weeks before even filing an order, then several cancelled (i.e. unaccepted) install dates that in turn my provider has omitted to advise me on after providing me with install dates that in turn clearly never got accepted. As is usual in utilities and services provided (and I use that term loosely) in this country, communication is extremely poor and customer satisfaction lacking a great deal of the time. As this service was from the outset defined as a business install, and having been for the most part crippled for a month by this change, I do wonder what other small businesses experiences have been. My install is “due” to take place today sometime this morning. I wait to see if such actually manifests.

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How Good is it to be Australian…

This last six weeks has been extremely challenging, from an emotional, psychological and financial perspectives. All in all I’m fairly exhausted and feel like I’ve run out of steam and yet keep rolling along being pulled by a tow rope that’s taking me nowhere I want to go. Unemployment has finally taken it’s forgone conclusion as far as a financial toll goes, placing me at the edge of being homeless soon, drowning in debt with no way to pay any of them and a fairly crap outlook about the foreseeable short to medium term future.

There’s no doubt that the middle-class in this country is under financial siege, both from government and business. State & Federal Governments in this country seem more concerned about staying elected next election than attempting to address almost ANY serious issue confront the citizens in this country. They continue to ride the waves of terrorism, anti-multiculturalism and maintain their technological stupidity with stoic shortsightedness. Politicians are presented with housing costs outstripping a significant proportion of this nation’s citizens, overburdening of our major cities infrastructure, a rapidly dropping AAA credit rating, the collapse of this country’s capacity to trade on a global scale, a continually rising cost of power in the country.

And once again all they can do is argue like the most misbehaved of school children left out in the schoolyard too long, calling each other names, and throwing rocks at each other. Not only that, but in their complete ignorance of the deterioration of the majority of this country’s citizens lifestyle seem to continue pushing ideas that fly in the face of long-term solutions. I can only hope that as election time looms, the electorate demonstrates that it’s had enough of self-serving parasites that have no other solutions than to take more & more from those that already have little and hand it off to those that have the most.

I’m not proud to be and Australian at this stage if the only way we can treat Australians (of all cultural backgrounds) is with contempt and disdain.

Yes this sounds depressing, that’s because it IS depressing for me. It’s depressing for many people just struggling to maintain some semblance of what they believed this country stood for and offered it’s citizens. We do need to accept some responsibility for where we are, we let them sell us down the river by not standing up more each time they give up one of our freedoms in exchange for nothing of use to the country’s populace. But now it’s time to make them accountable for their greed, lack of empathy and integrity. We need to send them a message.

I for one will lobby our local members, put them to task to state their allegiances, force them to make public statements about their ethical positions and hold them accountable for the decisions made my the party they belong to, and a “leader” who doesn’t stand by his or her own beliefs. What’s the point of a party having a leader when clearly the leaders do not lead; the parties dictate to the leader, not support them. What’s the point of parties that can’t agree on something obviously needed by the people of this country purely because they feel that they must “win” points against the opposing party. This country isn’t governed by it’s citizens for it’s citizens, it’s hijacked by a minority that has not a clue, nor cares, what’s being played out on the streets of this nation and can only take from it’s citizens without a thought to serving the country. It’s hijacked by businesses that care not for this country as most of them are no longer owned by citizens of this country. They care only for the “mighty dollar”, the majority of which seem to continually flow out of this country.

There’s a need for a complete flush of the sewers of our political system, new blood with ideas and vision, and a desire to take this country into the future for all it’s people, not just a privileged few.

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2017 is Out of the Blocks…

Well so far I’m managing to stay positive and trying to do my best to use my time productively. Sleep is still an issue, not so much getting sleep, just a matter of when. But I’ve stopped worrying about the when and just make sure I’m getting enough and not too much. Then I just make the time awake as productive as I can towards achieving my goals for the next few months.

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A Personal 2016 Summary…

If I was to sum up the year that’s pretty much now past, I’d have to say it’s not been the best of years for me. That said, it’s certainly not been the worst of years, it would have had to be a total train wreck for me to think that of it. There have been the usual mix of positive and negatives, highs and lows.

Amongst the highs would be knowing that my friends definitely care about me. All my friends have been very supportive of my situation even though it’s been to a large degree of my choice by leaving work. They have easily recognised the Psychological issues involved and not one of them has devalued me in any manner. It’s been fantastic to feel that support. I’ve clearly chosen my friends wisely. Hopefully they all feel the same.

Also travelling to NZ for both pleasure and business was absolutely awe-inspiring and definitely life enhancing. Even though in many ways we (Australians thinking about New Zealanders) think we are similar, for the most part I think these days we’re not! Geography is our most common factor. New Zealand as a community seems to be moving forward both economically and socially moving forward, whereas Australia seems only to be running backwards at a great rate. Our Politicians and most of the businesses in this country are hell bent on turning our country into a “Mini US” that seems to believe it’s citizens are an inconvenience at best and disposable at worst.

I’ve also managing to hold onto the house for at least another year. That’s been another positive milestone for me this year and a very pleasant surprise considering the economic pressure. It seems that originally buying at a price that took into account six to twelve months possible unemployment was a very sensible move.

As I said before, it’s not been all roses and chocolate. I suppose, although there are times I wonder talking to others, that no regular income this year again has been the most difficult and challenging part of the year for me. There’s no doubt that having no regular income in Australia (yes first world problem) is an unpleasant thing to stay the least. It certainly clarifies the mind with regard to Social Justice in this country: there’s very little! I know in many other countries it could be much worse but then that doesn’t justify it. Again in some other countries it is much better. Australians as a whole need to take a long hard look at what they want their future communities to be like because at this stage the outlook is extremely black.

However that said, I’m seeing the year out on a high and I believe that 2017 will be a better year for me to reflect on when its 31st of December rolls around.

To all my friends:

Thank you for your wonderful care and friendship, I hope I am always able to respond in kind.


May you all have a Happy New Year.

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