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    Emerging from the Fog…

    2022 - 09.12

    Yes it’s been a couple of years since I have updated this blog, I’ve been trying to get started again several times over the last 12 months but just haven’t been able to make it happen. Emotionally last year wasn’t a particularly bad year for me, probably upon reflection a better one than this year. Chemoux died around March this year, probably snakebite, putting me back to a single cat household again. Tiggakat has definitely stepped up the interactions since but I still miss my “shadow” and Supervisor.

    The last couple of months have seen me drop down mood wise quite a bit, still being connected to Centrelink really is a pair of psychological concrete boots now. This new system is even worse than the previous and I didn’t really think that was possible. It seems that the cost of having that small amount of financial assistance to fall back on is now no longer worth the psychological and emotional weight it brings with it. I’m just hanging on until car registration is due and I can pay it, then I think I’ll just have to drop off for my mental health. If I can manage to get through 25 hours per week with either Menulog or Uber then truly my need to have anything to do with Centrelink will evaporate and I feel sure there will be a substantial positive impact with regard to my Depressive Bouts.

    In some ways this year has been much better for me financially with the addition of extra income provided by Menulog. However it’s definitely reminded me about how quickly my mental health is influenced by the number of hours I work. It seems that the reality for me after my last full time position is that I deteriorate rapidly once hitting about 25 hours in a week. Sure, I can make it to up to 40 hours in a single week, but to repeat that for more than a couple of weeks will bring me unstuck withing the month. What is postive is that I know that something like Menulog or Uber can work for me as far as bringing in regular income in a way that nothing else in the last 7 years has been able to do. The flexibility of this type of work allows me to actually get income coming in on a regular basis without exacerbating bouts of Depression, provided I don’t get myself in a position where I feel compelled to overdo it. This has helped me get through financially without sinking too far down over the winter which has been the most difficult time over the last half decade.

    I hope to get a regular blogging habit back over the next month, aiming for at least one entry a week over the next month. I’m hoping to get a list of several things that need to be reinstated as good habits done over the next day or so, including my walking, since much has fallen off over the last couple of months.

    There are also a couple of tasks that need to be taken care of such as submitting my tax for the last financial year and getting organised around a new exhibition for next year. I’ve let my Art suffer this year in pursuit of income but without really achieving the baseline to allow the time for my Photography.

    Focus of Gratitude for the Day: I am very fortunate that I still have people in my life who do care about me and wish me well.

    One, Two, Five and out…

    2018 - 05.21

    So it’s back to the drawing board for me. That old devil and I just couldn’t reignite the old flames enough for me to be able to hang in there when it was getting tough. To be fair it wasn’t anyone’s fault particularly.

    I was into my third week of the commute to Melbourne. Training had technically finished but there was still no work in my designated region therefore it was a situation of going where the current work was: Melbourne suburbs and CBD. At that time I came down with what I refer to the cold from hell. It knocked me flat for the best part of three weeks, I didn’t have a hope while trying to commute. The two times I tried to go back to work during that period I was a heap on the floor by the end of the day. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Getting up at 05:15 and getting home at 19:00 each day just weren’t going to allow me to be able to fight it off. Anxiety and Depression were having a field day with me, they may as well have been pre-emptively dancing on my grave.

    To top it off, around the middle of week four, Tiggakat decided to go for a walkabout without consultation. I was shattered. She returned about 22:30 on the fourth night after she’d disappeared, thankfully as healthy as I could expect being unharmed, simply hungry and thirsty. Clearly she had a story to tell me but I was just too human to understand. She has been quite chatty since her return.

    By the end of week five I had to resign. There was still no clear deadline for a regional handover of work, and I couldn’t face another commute. Even if I’d been able to pick up regional work immediately at the start of week six, I was basically too much of a physical and mental wreck to even be able to accept and manage it. They couldn’t give me a timeline and I couldn’t in return give them a timeline on my health improving. End of a chapter.

    There were a few small positives out of the experience: I can say without a single doubt now that I for one am unable to physically or mentally (in particular) deal with a commute to work of that type day after day. It’s beyond me now. Additionally I did receive some money before winding up, so I’ve managed to close off a couple of large bills. So at least I’m heading forward on the basis of zero again rather than a negative position immediately. Something to be pleased about and to have brought out of it all.

    It was a grasp at an opportunity that just didn’t pan out for me but I guess needed to be accepted and seen through as best I could. Now it’s regroup, get healthy again and just move on.

    Two Years On…

    2017 - 07.14

    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?

    Livestock by the Catload…

    2016 - 10.27

    It seems to be Lizard, Centipede, Moth and Mouse Season again. Between the two furbags I’m ending up with all sort’s of presents.


    2016 - 09.28

    I must say I’ve been struggling the last few weeks. It seems the constant Black to Red to Red to Black to Red to Red to Red to Black etc of the finances since losing the last lot of part time work has been wearing me down. I’ve noticed quite a few things slipping, and the last one has been the sleeping cycle. I can feel my depressive levels increasing and this has been borne out by the monitoring I’ve been doing over the last 18 months.

    I need to pull several things in together and prevent another dive into where I was around June 2015. It’s not the lack of money that’s hurting, it’s the increasing pressure of the services that I can’t really change anymore. I’ve actually managed to decrease my electricity and gas costs over the last six months compared to last year which is pretty amazing considering it’s been colder (I think) for the most part of this winter compared to last. My food budget is well under what most households would be even accounting for my lack of partner & children. Don’t think you can do much better than $60 / week for groceries. Vegetarianism may help a bit, but I’ve already been keeping a fine line on the grocery budget over the last year.

    I wasn’t deluding myself thinking I was going to be self sufficient with Shards of Arcadia by now, I’d been counting on part-time work to keep me afloat while still building the business. However without that being enough to meet the outgoings over the last twelve months, it’s been a slow slide. I really can’t last another six months of this “income”. Anybody who thinks that living on $530 a fortnight is a holiday is clearly out of touch with the reality of the cost of living in Australian Society. I know I’m not the only one, I’ve watched several friends lose their roles too, and there’s no guarantees of work for any of us anymore.

    Anyway I’m not wanting to be morbid, just needing to express this and move on. I’ve made a personal commitment to myself to really put in some yards by way of holding my days together. So now I have a monthly commitment to a post every day on this site until at least the end of October.

    I feel somehow that I’ve sold my soul and not in a good way by signing up to a number of “paid survey” sites to try and scrape up some cash. I have to say I’ve been pumping away at them and feel suitably “dirty”. Oh well, a new personal low.

    On a positive note the Furbags will have food until at least the end of the year! I still have friends, I’m warm and have a roof over my head. It’s a good thing I’m a man of simple needs.

    All in a Day’s…

    2016 - 08.20

    Well so far I’ve managed to move forward with some short-term goals and score some points. I’ve upgraded all my blogs, uploaded some fresh stock to both my Etsy Store & Shards of Arcadia. There’s also been a bit of background maintenance too for my blogs, fixing a couple of problems highlighted by the last upgrades. I’ve also adopted a new theme for this one & Idyllic Moments. Time for a change there, the previous themes had been “gathering a bit of dust” so to speak. Additionally I’d not been using the Photocrati / Imagely themes and plugins that I’ve been subscribed to for over a year with regard to these blogs. The galleries are now much improved.

    Hopefully the sleep issues are resolved, as the last few weeks have been very hard trying too pull that sleep cycle back. Unsure if it’s due to transitioning off the Anti-Depressants or just the fact I’m between routines. Either way I’ve been working decisively on that this week just past. I’m going to do a day trip shoot either today or tomorrow, probably just down the coast, weather may determine the directions a bit. It’s patchy rain at present, but couple of chores to get out of the road first, before “hitting” the road.

    My Furbags seem to be either in territorial disputes or accident prone, I’m not exactly sure which, all I know is that at a time when I really can’t afford Veterinary bills they’re generating them! Tiggakat had injured her tail but thankfully that’s now come good with no permanent damage it seems. Just a bald patch that’s slowly regaining fur. Chemoux has a similar patch on her back after a slight bite that she aggravated by over-grooming. Both seem to be fine after a anti-biotic shot and an anti-irritant shot by the local Vet. I’m nursing a wounded wallet! But *sigh* what would I do without them! May the Furry Gods continue to look over the feisty furbags.

    The search for work is on again, as the part-time work has ended for the time being. I’m remaining open and thinking outside the box on that, and there are some possibilities with irons in the fire. Nothing fully cooked yet.

    A Taste of Eden…

    2016 - 06.03

    Well here it is, next to the last day in NZ. I’ve been a little moody today, most likely due to the fact I’ve got mixed feelings about leaving, but miss the Furbags and would like a night in a comfortable bed. My Van isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s been all I have for the month. I’ve really enjoyed the month’s focus on shooting, walking and enjoying beautiful scenery and meeting wonderful people.

    I feel my shooting has improved remarkably with the full-time application of myself to it, day in and day out. It’s been easy without the familiar distractions that to often entrap me while home. This escape for a month was exactly what I needed to step out of my Depression. I will be moving off the medication regime very soon after my return.

    I have to say I’m in love with NZ South Island. In fact there’s really no where except one small area that I wouldn’t live quite happily. The people are friendly and still have a very strong sense of community. It’s something that Australians are losing very very quickly. Australians seem to becoming very arrogant over the last decade, and I think this is only noticed when you spend time away from them. We (Australians) have much to learn about dealing with the rest of the world I think.

    Anyway I’m considering very strongly how to move over here. Time frame maybe two years. We shall see. But it’s renewed my inspiration, and my interest in life. Hopefully I can bring such re-invigorated zest back home with me and apply it to life back home.

    Sharing Good News…

    2016 - 01.17

    Sometimes it’s good for you to hear from somebody else that “Life is Good!”

    So, Life is Very Good at the moment for me. I’d say I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in three years. I’m enjoying work, enjoying my photography, enjoying my life in general. I’m planning for the future. I’m grateful for Friends and Family and really feel that life is worth living lately The Furbags are well and being fairly easy on me at the moment. My Depression is not affecting my quality of life at all over the last few weeks. There’s just nothing to complain about, and that’s fantastic.

    With my best wishes for all. 🙂

    On the Rise & Looking Over as Sol Rises…

    2015 - 10.04

    Moving into October already, it’s hard to know where all the year has gone. However, it’s winding to a close in much better space than it started. Clearly events seem to be unfolding as close to my intended plan as I could have hoped. A good 2 month break from work, and now some part-time work about to start. All that is left is to achieve the right balance between work & required income. Hopefully those conditions will become clear soon.

    The hope is that I can manage enough free time to be able to really apply myself to the photography business and create some solid foundations there and still be able to pay for the mortgage & cat food. If I can’t the Furbags may be unhappy to say the least!

    I’ve still not yet got the online shop up yet, but I’m prioritising it this week, as I don’t really know how much time I will have after this coming week. I’ve updated the server and the Apache and WordPress installations in preparation for moving over to full SSL before putting the online store up. After consideration I didn’t want to proceed with going live with the production version until the SSL was in place and fully tested. Hopefully that will be sorted by Wednesday and stock will go in the store that day. All looking good, it should go live for the Weekend.

    Clearly my Depression has been halted from worsening, and has certainly lessened to the point I’d say it’s improved to the best it’s been ever. I don’t want to say it’s cured, I don’t think I’m at that point, nor if I’ll ever be, but clearly I’m fully functional and been experiencing a significant amount of happiness over the last couple of months.

    Seeing Through the Veils of the Mind…

    2015 - 09.18

    Well I can see it’s been several weeks since the last update. That’s not indicative of a Depressive Relapse, it just means I’ve been very busy lately. It seems that the days are just flying by now with not enough time in the day to get done all I want to get done. It is quite amazing how it’s so like coming out of a fog, and the days are becoming bright, vibrant and nourishing in a strange but welcome way. I’ve not had a serious bout of Depression since Mid-July and despite money being tight, and the bills still coming in I’ve managed to stay afloat with the generous help of friends and family.

    Today I’ve had word that there will be some work coming up for me in a few weeks, requiring only the need to jump through some hoops for a bit of paper work and I should have some part-time work very soon. I am looking forward to feeling more financially independent again, but things have had to go the way they’ve gone to get where I am now: feeling Happy and managing the Depression very well at this stage.

    The Furbags think it’s been fantastic having me here home at their beckoned call for so long. Unfortunately I’ve had to endure much saving of Lizards, Beetles, Birds, and other gifts of appreciation. Still they’ve been very helpful for getting me through; they are both a source of much joy and amusement.

    I’m hoping to put quite a bit of effort into my Photography and really start getting the business off the ground over the next 6 months. Fortunately now it looks like I will have part-time work to help fund my attempt. I’ve not got my tax return notice yet to know if any money is coming back to me this year, but hopefully I will get something back. Anything to put towards the upcoming regular bills I have at this time of year will be most welcome. As it is, things are good.

    As an aside I’ve managed to blow my Internet Quota for the first time EVER! I guess that must mean I’ve been home more than I should surfing photography blogs!