marsden_online: (Blueknight)
With my mood OK I talked today to the Dr about my over-sleeping issues. Under the previous anti-depressants they were starting to come "right" but when I switched back to the Citalopram along with an effect like having say the top 5% (less than that) of my brainpower switched back on my dreams again became more vivid and frequent, my sleep got worse and my over-sleeping went right back to 10-12 hours a day.

I've been tracking my time over the past couple of months, here's a summary of August.
Pie chart shows sleep taking up about 46% of time

To save you doing the math that big brown section represents about 45.8% of my month. Other areas of my time-spend in August were atypical, but not that one.

His serious advice was to take up drinking coffee to keep me out of bed in the morning. Well that's not happening; apart from the fact that the mere smell of coffee makes me nauseous I haven't made it to this age without picking up a stimulant habit to start now.

I know a big part of the issue is psychological but I had hoped I might be able to kick-start myself out of the loop with a change in medication. He has prescribed a melatonin supplement ("Circadin®") to see if that will shake up my circadian rhythm. It's non-funded so I'm paying full cost but I am fortunately in the position that the relatively insignificant cost (compared to say cancer drugs) is not an issue.

I get the feeling any effect is most likely to be placeboic, but if that gives me the spoons to not give into the enticement to crawl back into bed "for just a short time" each morning then it works.

(With a full day ahead of me I did manage to drag myself up at 8:30am this morning; and true to form I have had a very productive day as a result.)
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 206 units
Exported 46 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 160 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $51.29
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
This year I hosted the 48 [crosses off non-existent bucket list]. Much has been made of this but for me it was a relatively straightforward matter snip )
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Monday was a good day. Normally Monday is the day I "allow" myself to sleep in but I had arranged to take two friends to a morning showing of Ghostbusters so I had immutable reason to actually get up. (It still took some effort, but only half an hour after the alarm went off.) After the movie (very good) I was still able to get to work no later than I often have been recently and work solidly through the rest of the afternoon, getting home just in time for gaming. I did not feel unduly exhausted at the end of the day.

Monday was one of those days which prove that I do still have the ability to do a whole day with minimal side effects. I went to bed positive about my ability to springboard off this success to have a productive day Tuesday ...

... and indeed I was up at 7am to go to the toilet and thisclose to staying up. But as so often happens I fell for the same lie from my brain that traps me time and time again; it would be fine to hop back into bed long enough to catch up on the nights happenings using my phone. That would be one thing ticked off the list of things to do for the day, then I would be ready to shower, breakfast etc ...

... and then the usual thing happened and it was after 11am and yet another unpleasant dream by the time I actually managed to drag my frustrated self back out of bed, through the "morning" routine and off to work.

4 hours productivity lost. There are so many of the things I want to get done that just one of could easily have fitted in that time.

Today (Wednesday) wasn't much better for starting, except that I didn't even get out of bed at 7 to go to the bathroom. This mornings dream had a bunch of new unpleasantness for me to boot.

- it was in parts an out-of-control-vehicle dream but where in these dreams I am usually driving my own car this time I had stolen or "borrowed" it. (I was re-parking it somewhere in the vicinity of where I got it from).
- some of the dream I was talking to a counsellor, then running late to get to my usual monthly psych session because of it (via phone half-an-hour after I was supposed to be there we postponed). I do not recall my counselling ever appearing in a dream before.
- some of it I was running down the road / sitting in the pavement crying because I knew the car-stealing thing was so out of character for me and screaming "what is wrong with me?". This is also completely new to my recall.

It was also in parts a
- not having the strength to pull myself up dream,
- a back-at-university and not able to find my timetable / where I was supposed to be dream

There were a few positive bits but they don't seem to have fit into the overall narrative, like side-tracks my mind followed briefly.

Once I got to work today I put in a 7+ hour stint without too much trouble. I've been doing this one or two evenings a week for a while now, on nights I don't have a fixed commitment, staying on until 6:30 / 7 / 8 after getting in after midday. It's the only way I've been keeping my hours up where I want them to be, it's also more proof that I am /able/ to do this much work. I would /rather/ be starting earlier in the day but if my system won't let me it'll just have to happen in the evening.

It's not even that I don't want to be at work. I /do/. There are a /lot/ of projects particularly in-house ones I /want/ to get stuck into. The morning problem seems to be something to do with the whole idea of having to /go/ to work. Like "I'm going to get out of bed and them I'm going to go through this routine and then I'm going to be at work for the rest of the day and that means I'm not going to get anything else done anyway so I'm just going to lie here and get even less done".

(I know trying to work from home won't cut it at this point. That would be a bullet to my work productivity.)

I felt I was making some progress earlier in the year by making morning time me-time for getting things done around the house / off my project list but that fell by the wayside. I'm hopeful I may be able to pick it up again as the days get longer ans my get-up time in the past has been closely linked with the sun reaching a certain point.

I had a morning go-for-a-walk buddy for a while but they are currently a night-owl and much happier that way :)

I've tried setting up mental associations / triggers to stop myself gong back to bed in the mornings if I get up at about the right time; but my brain always seems to find a way around them.

The current drugs presumably are helping with my mood but are not doing anything about my sleep - they may even be making that worse. The previous ones were helping with my sleep but messing with other things to the point that they triggered a physical, emotional and mental rejection. Next month I'll probably ask to try something new (don't want to mess with prescriptions right now; need my headspace to be a known quantity for upcoming commitments).

I do not physically /need/ to be spending 10-12 hours a day in bed. My stamina levels for physical activity have dropped (probably as a a result of, not a cause of), but not that far. I do not /want/ to be spending 10-12 hours a day in bed. It is stopping me doing things I /do/ want to do. It is denying me the chance to enjoy the sunshine for more than the 30 minutes trip to work around midday.

Every night I go to bed hoping, planning, determined to do better the next day. I know I /can/ ... I just don't know /how/.
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 153 units
Exported 28 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 125 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $39.27
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Lying in bed this morning I managed to identify the thing mostly keeping me in bed was a mental rejection of tackling anything that resembled "work". Going to work, or picking any of the things on my to do list to spend some time on or even ultimately going to gaming tonight. So I decided to call in sick and spend most of the day napping or in front of the fire.

Ironically once that decision was made my brain then immediately switched mode to firing all available cylinders on a quote-request for a major project which has been sitting in my mailbox since Friday. So I just spent two hours working from home on that, and am currently taking a break before finalising the email.

I suspect this will be followed by a variety of other productive activities around the house, possibly interspersed with naps followed by cheerfully going to gaming.

So it seems that a big part of not getting going in the morning is something to do with being /expected/ to get up and do things. As soon as I am no longer "expected" to do anything it's full steam ahead :/

Need to figure out how to leverage this.
marsden_online: (write)
I thought I had already written a post on Ask vs Guess culture including an anecdote from my youth, but I am unable to find it. I'm not going to repeat the particular anecdote here because this post is to record and draw out a train of thought which occurred as I drifted into a "nap" this afternoon.

Background: I was a bit miffed at not having managed to acquire a second lotto ticket for the draw this evening (40 million must-be-won Powerball jackpot combined with a 700,00 Strike jackpot. I'll check in the morning). The reason it would be a) the second ticket and b) I didn't already have one was that I purchased the first online[1] then decided I could afford another; only to be informed I had exceeded my spending limit for the week[2].

[1] the one with maximum lines of Strike because doubling my chances in Strike seemed better odds than more lotto/powerball lines)
[2] Which was only like $30 because I set it (as a security precaution should someone get into my account) at a time when there was only one significant draw a week. And takes until the next Sunday for change requests to take effect (sensible). And would still have been fine if I was buying my usual[3] $9.60 tickets (minimum ticket because more than stuff all chance is a chance but still stuff all)
[3] only when the jackpot gets up a ways

While drifting off it occurred to me that I was /really/ miffed about being told "no" by the system. My increased determination to acquire an extra ticket was in reaction / rejection / rebellion against that. Which got me thinking (again) about my issues around asking / responding to being asked. Half-asleep brain made a new connection.

In terms of the previously linked article I would have said I grew up in a Guess culture and my asking habits reflect that. If I don't judge that there is a good probability someone will say yes (typically upwards of say 80%) I won't
- (rationalising) put them at risk of having to choose between an unwilling yes and an uncomfortable no
- (more realistically) put myself at risk of being made uncomfortable by having made them uncomfortable; or receiving a strongly negative reaction
... so I simply won't ask.

I don't usually /consciously/ have problems with a "no" answer
- although I have been known to interpret it as a "try again later in a different way"; a behaviour I hope I have broken myself of.
- the reason this one impacted me was simply that it was so unexpected; coming from a context where I didn't even realise I was asking for something (but of course I was)
- but see my final conclusion

On this afternoons half-asleep consideration though asking wasn't really a thing when I was growing up. The way our life was structured there wasn't really any "would you like to do x?" or would you like to do y?"; "can/may I do x?" or "can/may I do y?". "Questions" were usually just polite instructions: "Can you please pass the peas?", "Have you done [chore]?", "Will you please [task]?" As such a yes (or just getting on with it) was expected; any other response was likely to lead to unhappiness.

It may be one of the reasons I'm so good at politely taking charge; but it simply didn't give me soft skills around ... negotiation for lack of a better term. Or standing up for myself verbally (which may be related to other issues that developed later on). Or saying no because my fight-or-flight[5] response to being asked to do something is to "obey"/comply or rebel (the latter aggressively, probably even when I am not consciously aware that is what I am projecting. So no wonder people may feel nervious about asking for things they think /I/ may say no to.)

[5] The 3rd option, freeze ("play dead") is to vaguely accede and then passively aggressively ignore the request.

By the same token despite my best intentions it is likely I subconsciously expect people to "do what I ask" and get subtly (or not so subtly, just oblivious to my own reactions/projection) upset when "I do not get my own way". The first bit isn't really a problem for anyone but me; the second though would negatively affect other people and that, to my mind, /would/ be a problem.

If I'm being brutally honest the rejection (or possibility of rejection) probably influences my decision making and risk assessment around asking far more than I am willing to admit, even to myself. [It's half-past-midnight as I type this; a fine time for staring into the darness.]

~~~
[aside]
One of the comments on the link I chose for this post talks about experience a "Yes" culture; which from the description I would actually consider
- at best the culture shock of an Asker (the poster self-identifies as) who has found themselves in a Guess environment;
- a toxic outgrowth (or ingrowth) of a Guess culture or two merged Guess cultures
- an outcome of a Guess culture being colonised by unscrupulous Askers.
In my own personal experience, I think there is a third type of culture - Yes Culture. That is, social circles that have the expectation that it is OK to ask for anything at all with the expectation that you will receive a yes. Or, when asked of anything at all, you must say yes regardless of what the request is.
...
But I have witnessed first-hand what I'm calling Yes Culture. Having been submersed in it directly, I have experienced much frustration because my expectations and those of the Yes Culture differ greatly. Likewise, I have witnessed those of the Yes Culture's frustrations in dealing with me. No matter how I explain myself or my expectations, our expectations differ so greatly that I am almost always perceived as rude, selfish, unsupportive or uncaring for saying no (and believing it is OK). And no matter how much they explain themselves, I can't quite grasp how it's possible to expect that any request will/should be granted regardless of timing, workload, responsibilities, etc."

[/aside]
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 116 units
Exported 19 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 97 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $30.20

Walls

Jul. 5th, 2016 10:52 am
marsden_online: (skull)
I was so very close to getting out of bed at a reasonable time this morning in order to accomplish more of the things I aim(ed) (and anticipated) to do today. Often the barrier feels like being stuck on the brain side of a wall of impregnable refusium; today body and conscious brain were both will and it felt like being on both sides of a mounded earthen wall.

Buried below the earth though was still whatever issue it is that is subconsciously making me "not want to" and I didn't make it. Still earth is much softer and amenable to digging; so perhaps I'm getting closer to figuring it out.

Now having dumped this out of my head perhaps I can get on and actually accomplish /something/ with what is left of my day.
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
It has been two months since I did a "state of me" post. Looking back I see I was definitely in a worse place at that time. Things have picked up but I feel back in a bit of a dip at the moment.

Some major loops have been closed - the drain-laying and landscaping have been done; replaced with the less intimidating "cleaning up the mess left behind" and "paying off the mortgage again" loops. Having to be out of bed by 8am for workers did wonders for my productivity over those couple of weeks and I had hoped it would "stick" as an adjustment to my body clock but I have slipped back to not being able to force myself out of bed until quite late in the morning.

I have also switched off the medication which may have been helping with that (Sertroline); I developed a strong physical aversion to taking it so switched back to a low dose of the leftover Citalopram then changed my prescription back as well. There was an almost immediate improvement in my mood, alertness and creativity (measured by my urge to write); at the same time I have experienced a resurgence in vivid and sleep disrupting dreams and also a near-constant hunger/snacking.

The only weekday commitments I have at the moment are work; so that isn't suffering relative to my established "norm" but we are still behind and I would like to do more; as well as of course keep on top of other things before the list grows long enough to again feel overwhelming.
Hall commitments have receded; hopefully for the next couple of months until it starts warming up again.

~~~
running through my head )
marsden_online: (write)
I communicate with the pollsters by e-survey, especially since auto-dialers put me offering my phone completely. One particular company often starts with the question "What do you see as the biggest issue facing NZ today.", or something similar. This week it was beefed up a bit and led to an extended series of thoughts which I posted on FB (as being the most convenient format at the time) but am repeating here as a less ephemeral record.

The question:
What are the main social problems in New Zealand that the Government and community as a whole need to address?
My initial answer:
Inequity and poverty:
With our GDP per capita there should be no excuse for not being able to provide everyone with the basics of a warm, dry, private space to call their own and sufficient to eat; as a matter of right with no need to jump through any hoops to prove they are entitled to it.
Address this issue and a great number of other issues which stem from or are exacerbated by it will also recede.

Half an hour or so later I also wrote the following (edited a bit for clarity):
---
Ongoing thought about why our current social welfare system doesn't work very well wrt eg housing and food.

It consists of (reluctantly) giving people money and then leaving them to be able to procure the required services from "the market". But they're not dealing with /one/ market they are dealing with /many/ markets - accommodation, food, electricity ... - /each of which/
- has the goal of acquiring as much of that money as possible /without concern/ for the balance of the customers' needs
- and prices accordingly.

The result of course is that there is not and probably will never be "enough" money - see also for example how private rent increases have tracked the accommodation supplement.

The supply industries also benefit in their pricing strategy from individuals being given the money to spend rather than the services being purchased in bulk by a central authority with the clout to negotiate and keep the prices down.

For this reason I'm not opposed to government purchasing services from private providers; I /am/ opposed to the private providers being selected on the basis of lowest cost or metrics such as how fast they can get people off their books (churn). The correct metric has to be based on standard of care.

That would unfortunately require the government to care about the well-being of it's /entire/ constituency, not just those who voted for the "ruling" party or contributed to its coffers. :/
---

Back to now and a couple of other thoughts

Dealing with poverty is not a problem which can be solved by a single approach.
- Giving people money (or some form of equivalent discretionary resource) directly so they can target their own needs in their own situation is one part of the solution and has been shown to work well for getting people back on their feet. But as a sole or primary approach it risks capture as described above; where funds meant to help people into a position to better their lives end up straight in the (mostly metaphorical these days) pockets of "service" providers.
- /But/ poverty is relative and targeting the affordability of common - even "basic" goods and services is another piece of the puzzle. Not in an ad-hoc manner (eg taxes on/off fresh/processed foods - this has been a regulatory nightmare wherever it has been tried, save it for genuine luxury goods) but in a whole-of-market approach like Pharmac.
Bulk demand can shift the costs down but this is not something those already struggling with their living situation are in a position to organise. In a democratic/capitalist welfare society this should be a function of government.

One government department I think could make more of an impact here (if they were permitted) is Housing New Zealand; right now they are limited by having to use their own housing stock (which they have been forced to run down and sell down over the past decade); but if they were also able to function as a not-for-profit property management company effectively handling maintenance and property standards for those who for example
- have an investment property "retirement plan" but find the details of renting it out more effort than it is worth
- have a social conscience
- will accept a low-end-of-the-market-rent-range return

they might well be able to
- apply downward pressure on rental prices
- fill up some of those homes we hear about sitting empty
- reduce their waiting lists
- provide security for a lot of people who currently have found they can't ever trust they will still have a place to live after the next review
- upgrade some of NZ's abysmal housing stock
- and potentially be in a position to acquire some of those properties to replenish their own stocks when the bubble bursts

Yes the deal would have to be structured so as to appeal to the property owners opening it up to the criticism of being a government handout to that class; but I am reasonably certain it could be made to work for no more than is currently being handed to them indirectly via the accommodation supplement and putting beneficiaries up in motels for a week while simultaneously lumbering them with a paper debt which will, realistically, never be recovered.
marsden_online: (Kea)
Produced 138 units
Exported 44 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 84 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $28.91
~~~
As the cold and dark has hit the bill has spiked making this a much lower reduction than usual proportionally as well as numerically, about 11%.

About as expected. I will be using the fire for heating more over the next couple of months though so hopefully that will keep it steady.

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