Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Art Life…

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

I’ve been watching The Art Life, a documentary about David Lynch and “The Art Life”. It’s such a different picture of David Lynch than I’ve previously had, so much so that I was wondering if there are two David Lynch artists, the Director and the Artist. By that I mean literally separate human beings. But it’s one & the same. That aside it’s provoked some interesting thoughts. So food for thought.

Some of his inspirational “mottos”:

  • Coffee, food & art (work).
  • Compartmentalising life and those others in it.
  • Keep making “bad art” until you find your good art.
  • We’re deeply and constantly influenced by others all our lives. Keep making until you find your own art.

I’m so glad he’s refused to be part of the “hollywood establishment” because it’s inspirational to know that people can make it in their own way.

Raindrops keep fallin’…

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Lately I’ve been pondering the origins of my love for the rain. Just when I started to be come enamoured of listening, being caught in, going out in, and generally just experiencing rain is something I’m unable to put my finger on, although some of my earliest memories are of enjoying rain.

Memories such as looking out the window on a rainy winter day and enjoying just listening to it and watching it fall. Others are of being out in it under a tree, waiting for it to lessen enough for me to be able to walk in it without getting drenched through. Or dashing through it when I was only 10 or 20 metres from my destination and the excitement of getting out of it, yet not. For me the rain seems only to have positive memories.

Rain just revitalises plant and animal alive.

During the day or during the night, inside or outside walking in it. Yes there are times it’s cold and miserable if there’s a howling wind, but despite all else it still tells you that you’re alive.

Beautiful and mysterious.

I really do love rain.

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.

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.

Two Years On…

Friday, July 14th, 2017

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?

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.

Intermittant Communication and Connectivity…

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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.