Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

One, Two, Five and out…

Monday, May 21st, 2018

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.

Remembering Old Blues…

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

It’s been over two and a half years since I left my last full-time position and quite regularly I’m left scratching my head some days how I’ve managed to survive it. The reality is that I wouldn’t have survived it without family & friends. I’m extremely grateful to all concerned.

It seems that an old devil has reeled in my soul again for another run and I’ll be starting paid employment again in a couple of weeks. There’s a number of feelings racing about in my head over the last week as a result of that news, not all of them good by a long shot. However it is income better than I’ve had and will help me get back on my feet. I probably still won’t be able to afford to put shoes on my feet but I will be able to afford to stand up!

A positive aspect of this role is that my record must have spoken for itself given that no referees were required. Perhaps that is a thing now, because to be honest if I was employing unless the referees were internal I’d consider them a waste of time and unreliable: from an employer’s point of view. I’m certainly not saying that I think that about any of my referees. It’s simply that if you’re picking referees that aren’t painting you in the best picture, maybe you should be rethinking your referees strategy.

What I am desperately focussing on are the mental health benefits of not having to worry about how I’m going to be paying the next bill that rolls in every week. That in itself should provide a huge positive in my continuing struggle with Depression. It’s definitely been escalating in a downward direction the last six months particularly despite the fact it was my cheaper season of the financial year. After all there’s only so much you can cut from costs before you’re at basically ground zero and homeless. Thanks to all my friends and family I’ve not slipped into that cadre since that’s clearly extremely difficult to escape once in it.

I’m going to have to continue to focus some efforts on generating extra income from my photography. But at least the pressure will be off to try and generate it via subjects and means I’m not really interested in pursuing from an artistic point of view. I won’t be able to get ahead with the money coming from this new role, but I aim to use it as a “floatation device” while I work on the photography and writing. It has certain benefits too given that I can avoid having to deal with Office Espionage and Politics as it’s a fundamentally solo role placing me outside the office 100% of the time. As some have pointed out, perhaps that is best for me these days from an emotional point of view.

Still In the Game…

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

At this stage I think a quick post is necessary just so you all realise I’m actually still alive and this two month hiatus from posting isn’t more “final”. I won’t lie, it’s been damn tough the last few months: tougher than it’s been in a long time. Emotionally & Psychologically it’s been hell; I’ve been navigating some very rocky reefs just off a very dangerous coast. I don’t know if I’m out of those waters yet, but at least this week I’ve steered a more positive and productive course. Only time will tell. Time is the only true auditor of “survival”.

I have found some energy and I’m attempting to find some motivation to move on and get out of yet another crossroads where the vehicle (me) has stalled. In some ways it’s seemed like I can see the tick boxes running out at the bottom of the page for chances to start again. I will get a more enlightening post up soon, but for the moment I’ve made use of five minutes to indicate I’m still in the game.

An Emotional Shot in the Arm…

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

“Today is the first day of the rest of my life…”

It sounds hackneyed and trite. I’d be the first to say that is exactly how I have felt about that statement in the past but it’s also true. I’m not sure why (yet) that statement sounds different to me today, but I found myself saying it early this morning while making breakfast. Is that a sign of hopefulness returning? I’m not sure, but perhaps it has something to do with the day I enjoyed yesterday. I attended a wedding; not something I do lightly as I don’t really believe in the legal construct of a wedding.

I do believe in the commitment that two people can share with each other which is why I attended yesterday’s wedding. It was between two people I believe love & care about each other and they wanted to share their day with those around them that they feel similarly.

It was the most relaxed wedding I’ve been to in over 10 years. That doesn’t demean the event in anyway, it was simply a reflection of the couple and their family and friends.

Somehow though I drove away last night feeling somewhat more “lively” than I have felt in quite a while. Although I was tired at the end of the day and running on very little sleep, I found myself strangely energised by the day and the people. I caught up with some of those friends that sit in the secondary circle and oddly found myself feeling valued again. Even though I’ve not seen several of them for up to a decade, they still managed to demonstrate to me that I’d made a difference in their life and that somehow I’d manage without effort to make a positive impact in their lives. That was valuable and enriching for me yesterday: perhaps it was the shot in the arm that my emotional state has needed?

Only time will tell on this one, but this morning was the most positive feeling morning I can remember in months. Hopefully I can channel this into some positive action forward!

Bobbing Like an Apple in a Barrel…

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Progress is slow at best (if at all) over the last couple of months. I’ve been having some horrific bouts of deep Depression that seem to be profound but concentrated over a few days but anything up to about 10 days. Then I seem to crawl back up out of it. It also seems to me that I have some sort of 3/5 week pattern going on. What I mean by that is that I seem to get maybe up to 3 weeks where I’m buoyant enough, then I will have between a week and a fortnight of strong and sometimes overwhelming Depressive bouts.

I’ve been working with a Psychologist again: yet another new one as both my previous choices have retired. The sessions seem to be progressing well so I’m prepared to consider that it’s an escalation before a substantial improvement that’s been transpiring over these last two to three months. But it’s been a very bumpy road this last six months. Yes, I seemed to make some ground earlier in the year, but now that is past things are not progressing as satisfactorily as I’d hoped. Things are just getting emotionally harder as the weeks go by again.

I’ve also had a few financial setbacks again, large bills mostly but I’ve also had to repay some money borrowed, inevitable but not the best time. I thought I’d be financially ok until the end of the year but that’s looking shakier now.

Surprisingly though the last couple of days have been much better. I’ve been making a substantial effort to not come down on myself for a shattered sleep cycle, and basically I’ve decided to just not give a fuck for a week or so about anything other than focussing on positives and trying to experience some happy periods no matter how “irresponsible” that may seem to me. At the moment a positive mood seems more important than anything else to my ongoing psychological survival.

Lost Footing…

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Clearly I’ve had a relapse with regard to the emotional position I was in 18 months ago and I can’t let that continue. Here’s hoping that with the financial mess behind me now I can grasp some bull by the horns and get some traction in life again. It’s been way too long since I felt on solid ground.

That said, the end of last week and the weekend just passed was the most hopeless and emotionally debilitating period I can remember over the last two years. I have no certain idea why and that’s concerning because it seemed to come from nowhere and I really was struggling to stay afloat. I spent hours on the phone with friends just to hang on. I really hope that was some incredibly obscure and unlikely set of circumstances that’s done & dusted now because I’m pretty sure I’d be underwater if I had to try and stay on top of that level of psychological blackness for a couple of weeks continuously.

Anyway I’ve shortlisted some tasks this week to try and prevent slipping down to that level again. Hopefully that state will not reoccur before I find my feet again.

Workstation Black & Blue…

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

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!

Set Course for “that away”…

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

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.

Monday Morning Gratitude List…

Monday, March 20th, 2017

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.

The Dead Marshes…

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

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.