marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-23 08:48 pm
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marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-21 08:09 pm
marsden_online: (Sisters)
2017-06-19 06:19 pm

Stumbling to the beat of a broken drum(mer)

Depression and anxiety have taken advantage of the lack of energy stemming from a week or two plagued to launch a resurgence and start kicking my ass again. Today was particularly bad, brought on by pushing myself beyond reasonable limits dealing with everything at the Hall working bee yesterday. Despite every intention I did not make it into work, and when I had finally given up on the idea and checked into my work mailbox at 2pm it was to find two urgent items from this morning requiring my attention. Which I was able to attend to from home, but one stemmed from a project I had done the week prior to sick-week and the fix was something I explicitly thought I had done at the time.

I did also manage to solve the problem which had me stumped at the end of Friday, which I what I had actually dragged myself out of bed with the intention of doing.

Sometimes I think the little voice inside my head which says "you can do/fix this" actually belongs to a little gremlin with a big hammer who is really looking forward to breaking things more.

I find myself just wanting to walk away from almost everything ... but that is not a feasible option.
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-14 09:36 pm
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marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-06-14 09:08 pm
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marsden_online: (write)
2017-06-11 10:52 pm

Compulsive Behaviours

Complusion com·pul·sion (kəm-pŭl'shən) n.
- An uncontrollable impulse to perform an act, often repetitively, as an unconscious mechanism to avoid unacceptable ideas and desires which, by themselves, arouse anxiety.
- an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is something I have never given much thought to, beyond the common or pop-culture awareness and a vague undefined annoyance when perfectionist friends claim to "be a little OCD". But the post "OCD is not your quirky fun friend from Sarah Wilson at WriteHanded detailing some of the behaviours associated with her OCD prompted me to take a closer, if still superficial look at the definitions and diagnostic criteria, and from there to compulsion in general.
OCD is not just perfectionism, and for many people, it won’t present that way at all. It’s not “being a neat freak.”
...
Telling myself I am experiencing OCD is of little to no help. I feel itchy at best, suicidal at worst, until I allow myself to complete the behaviour that will stop the anxiety. Sometimes, that behaviour isn’t anything that will look unusual from the outside. It might be getting some work done. It might be taking a shower. It might be going to the supermarket with a very specific list. But what people don’t know or see is that work isn’t even due for another four weeks, but I couldn’t let it sit undone. That I’ve already had two showers today, but I feel like i’m unclean and I need to wash again. That I’ve already been to the supermarket, but an intrusive thought keeps telling me I’ve missed things out or got the wrong ones, so I need to go again.

I am quite confident in saying that I would not personally be diagnosed with OCD. I do have a variety of anxiety-linked behavioral compulsions, what I consider a susceptibility to addictive behaviours, and something of a fixation on doing things the "right" way; none of which take anywhere the amount of time out of my life an OCD diagnosis would require.

Following my curiosity I googled for /other/ compulsive disorders but did not turn up any helpful results with the time and energy I had available. I'm sure they are out there; just drowned in the sea of OCD-related results which resulted even trying (failing) to filter out results containing "obsessive". Probably I am stuck in the catch-22 of having to know what the disorders are called before I can find out what they are ....

of/for myself )
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-06-07 10:38 am
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Solar panel math for May(ish)

Produced 143 units
Exported 40 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 103 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $33.88
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-06-06 09:53 pm

Buckets of Dice weekend 2017

Reading back over the past few years entries I notice a clear pattern of going in already exhausted and not getting nearly as much gaming done as I would like. This year was no exception; various issues at work have triggered emotional breakpoints and seen me push myself harder than is safe. To boot a head cold which has been threatening for the past fortnight arrived with a vengeance, leading to me wearing a flu mask Sunday and Monday; arguably I should also have done so Saturday or even not attended at all. However I had a friend down from Wellington staying with me and commensurate responsibilities to make sure she was able to be there.

Despite my efforts to keep the Hall calendar clear it had two entries; the Saturday morning one was a no-show and the Monday afternoon one arrived an hour late and then was un-prepared and spent half-an-hour doing make-up. I was able to leave them shooting with someone else on site but both instances meant time spent waiting around in cold wet weather when I could have been gaming. An alarm call out just after midnight on Saturday morning did not help matters.

My brain is blanking on some of the games I played and when
- Saturday had at least four games, starting with Betrayal at the House on the Hill which I had to abandon to get to the Hall, but apparently the Haunt won two rounds later (although we'd seemed to be in a good position), late afternoon was Kingsburgh, later in the evening a quick 2-player learning game of Fairy(Faery?)Tale and then ? . I was also able to purchase enough card sleeves of appropriate size from the Comics Compulsion table to kill time sleeving my copy of DC Heroes.
- Sunday I had two long, 3-player games of DC Heroes Crisis with different people where we lost at the very end, the first time to the final crisis and the second time by the stack running out when we had only to defeat the final super-villain two more times. I must have played Roll for the Galaxy because we discovered one of the cups missing. Jamaica because I noticed one of our often-indecisive players was quite quick at it.
- Monday had Castles of the Mad King Ludwig (which someone kindly stepped out of to let me play when I arrived as it was being set up) followed by Egizia. After getting back from the Hall I managed a game of DC Heroes before helping a little with pack up.

Today I called into work sick and have spent it napping / doing chores around the house / a delivery/groceries run / coughing a lung out. I would have liked to go along to Saga tonight for a couple more games but by about 4pm I had to admit to myself that wasn't going to happen.

~~~
Three times during the past few days I have teetered on the brink of emotional collapse. One was Saturday morning trying to get out of the house on time after oversleeping, and that was pure exhaustion.

The second was when I wandered upstairs on Sunday night to try and take some discrete photos of the LARPs in progress (trying to keep myself occupied and stable between running out of gaming options myself and my guest finishing up) to be shooed off. The shooing off wasn't entirely unexpected but the way it made me feel was. The third was being called out on possibly having taken photos including someone without permission - I haven't actually looked at the photos yet but yeah likely. I was sick, tired and probably sloppy with my judgement/recall/asking.

I'm still trying to figure out the reason the last two hit me so hard; I can't tell right now whether I'm feeling hurt by the criticism, upset with myself for not being more careful / not holding myself to high enough standards, or because I caused upset to someone I care about. In any case all there is to be done is apologise and attempt to not repeat the mistake.

Probably also time to book another psych appointment.
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-05-10 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for April(ish)

Produced 178 units
Exported 60 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 118 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $39.95
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-05-06 10:14 pm

Tapped out

It has been a long week, or maybe longer. I have been giving a lot in both time and treasure, and while there is plenty of treasure left I am physically and emotionally exhausted. today when I got home from Hall duties and grocery shopping I "napped" 4pm-9pm before dragging myself out of bed for a nice dinner which I had purchased the foundation of, and although still exhausted there are other things I am determined to get done before returning to (hopeful but unlikely given my dreams) oblivion.

~~~
This week in particular has been all early starts between having mother staying here while a relative is in hospital and several groups wanting early starts at the Hall for film projects. Fortunately others have been able to cover some of that time because while I could let them in I could not justify taking all the time off work.

As it was the relatively early starts at work were compensated for by finishing earlier most days so I only did my usual amount of hours, although even those were a struggle. And I messed up my timekeeping which resulted in finding a "we really need you to up your game" email from the manager in my home mailbox (replying to my weekly invoice) after I got home from the party last night. It didn't send me into the sort of tailspin these sometimes have in the past (although I had to expend spoons determinedly refusing to let it) but I was already feeling pretty low.

I had actually quite enjoyed the party itself (KAOS perversion party, which generally has at-best-even odds that I will maintain an emotional equilibrium), but on the way home several glooms had set in, some expected and some not, one which I have not experienced so sharply in I-cant't-remember-when.

That particular one which is about how easy it would be for me to manipulate/control people to get what (who) I want is probably a danger sign. It is perhaps the aspect of myself I have been fighting the longest, in my determination to be a good person rather then the total arsehole my instinctive unfiltered reactions and desires would have me be.

I don't know if people think having a considered, positive approach to the world is easy for me. It's really not a lot of the time. I am pretty much constantly filtering my actions and output so as to constructively help (as I want to do) rather than unwittingly hurt (which I am also very good at as those who have known me for a long time will be aware). It sometimes chews through quite a lot of my daily energy.

Wanting to help; being determined to make things "right" at a level which leaves me little choice, may also have been responsible for some of this weeks issues at work. It cones with the particular frustration of having to recover from what was essentially someone else's failure at requirements discovery; something which I do find myself having to compensate for quite frequently.
marsden_online: (loved)
2017-04-25 10:35 am

"War, what is it good for?"

It is ANZAC day here in New Zealand, the annual public "holiday" to commemorate and honor those who died fighting in "our" name in military service. In practice this means primarily World Wars I and II with in recent years the occasional nod creeping in to Vietnam or more recent actions in the Middle East.

There are links I have shared on FB over the past few years that this year I am going to round up here before putting down more of my thoughts

#lestweforget
~~~

Cliffs of Gallipoli [Sabaton]
"There is no enemy, there is no victory
Only boys who lost their lives in the sand
Young men were sacrificed their name are carved in stone and kept alive
And forever we will honour the memory of them""


19 things you need to know about ANZAC Day (that we should not be proud of)
http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/04/25/19-things-you-need-to-know-about-anzac-day/

The Pencilsword remembers the Maori Land Wars - arguably more important to NZs history and identity but often forgotten
http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/the-pencilsword-lest-we-forget

The Making of Gallipoli into a Marketable Memory
http://werewolf.co.nz/2015/04/whats-to-commemorate/

I was only 19 [Redgum]
"And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night time's just a jungle dark and a barking M.16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me - I was only nineteen"


~~~
"Lest we forget" means different things to different people. For some it is about the family who went to war whether by choice or otherwise and didn't come back. For some it is about the need to be prepared to go to war "for the right reasons" (these reasons vary).

For me it means
a. Being aware that
-- wars past and present are not times of glory and righteousness as presented by the media and spin doctors, but of horror and death

-- that the amounts spent on military adventurism by western economies would go a long way to giving the oft-struggling citizens of those countries(arguably the losers and casualties of a form of civil /economic/ warfare which has taken place of the intervening decades) a decent standard of living. Food, healthcare, accommodation, the freedom to be productive rather than just trying to survive.

b. Saying #notinmyname when my government continues to choose to hire out our military "defence forces" especially in a time when modern military conflict often seems to mean
-- a technologically superior force operating on behalf of interests who are posed no significant threat by the other side
-- sowing death with machines which doe not need to have human compassion or judgement drilled out of them, dissociation of their operators enabled by a safe distance
-- inflicting civilian casualties and recording them as "enemy combatants" for simply being present

c. That the best way to not become involved in a war against a nation with a "morally bankrupt" government is for people to stand up, be critical and questioning, and prevent their government from becoming that sort of institution.

Every. Day.

~~~
War (What is it good for?) [Edwin Starr]
marsden_online: (camera2)
2017-04-22 07:51 pm
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Photos: March for Science

march for Science, Christchurch edition
Rainbow unicorns
"We are also marching to support those who are being negatively effected by attacks on Science in the U.S and all over the world. We are marching to show that we support and value Science in our lives and that we will stand up to protect it."
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
2017-04-19 10:25 pm

All but done at Livejournal

I couldn't quite bring myself to deactivate the account, justifying it to myself as not wanting (the extremely unlikely possibility of) someone else to claim the username and abuse it. I have archived everything locally with BlogBooker* mass-set all the entries to private, stripped all the sidebar content except the links list which points to my active social media presences, and posted a goodbye sticky.

Livejournal was a massive part of my life/community for many years; I met and got to know better a number of good friends and acquaintances there, but sometimes I guess you have to move on. Thoughts drift back to when I finally cut ties to / was driven away from the Gamers, Ethics and Religion online forum I used to hang out in. I still wonder what happened to some of those people.

Next comes trawling back though and tidying up my old entries as imported to Dreamwidth, killing memes with long-dead links / images and updating links between posts. While those posts were still accessable on LJ it didn't seem important.

* I paid for time and books on BlogBooker and only used a fraction, so I have some spare if anyone would like me to do theirs as well.
marsden_online: (write)
2017-04-19 09:27 pm
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How I get "so much" done

People often comment on how I apparently get so much done despite my depression issues (low energy and extended sleeping hours). Despite the clickbait title, this article which came through my feedreader the other day actually describes it pretty well, although I've never really considered it this formally.

How To Stay Amazingly Productive On Low Energy Days
There are two types of days in the life of every ittybiz owner. You have your “good days”, where you stay productive, get a lot of cool shit done and it seems like everything is going great. You can’t be stopped. You’re on fire with how much you’re doing, and how easy it feels.

Then there are your “bad days”, when you just can’t even. Your energy is low, you can’t seem to think straight, and no matter how many items were on your to-do list, they all seem to still be there – undone – when the day is over.
...
Your life and your business start to get a lot better when you shift from thinking about “good” and “bad” days and instead see them as two separate parts of a cycle.

There’s the “flow” part of the cycle, when your energy is high, your brain is working at its best, and you can easily do things that require creativity or focus. You could call this a high energy day.

Then there’s the “ebb” part of the cycle, when your energy drops, your brain checks out, and it seems hard to do anything. You could call this a low energy day.

There’s nothing wrong with this cycle. Ebb isn’t “bad”. It’s just ebb. You can’t be high-energy all the time just like you can’t be awake all the time. Ebb times are where your brain and body recharge so that flow can come later.
...
You have to start choosing to do flow activities when you’re in a place of flow, and ebb activities when you’re in a place of ebb.

Ebbs only feel like a problem when you’re trying to do things that belong in the flow category.

You can get an amazing amount done in the ebb times, if you simply choose ebb-appropriate activities instead.

(You’ll also get back into your flow state sooner, what without all that energy spent trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.)

But first, you have to know the difference between the two.
...

There are some decent tips on how to make the best of the different times at the link.

Many many of the things I do are, for me, ebb or ebbish activities. They don't necessarily take a lot of brainpower or much energy to keep ticking over step-by-step. Which is good given that as we know I am constitutionally unable to remain inactive for any significant period of time outside of unconsciousness.

Actually I deliberately try to break even larger things down to many smaller ebbish steps if possible, because my full on flow periods are few and far between, although this is itself a flowish task and I have to remember to slow myself down and actually do the break-up (and make a list) rather than charging on ahead trying to complete the full task until I hit the crash.

I do have to keep a physical/digital to-do list, actually I have several in various forms, because at ebb times it can be really hard to think or remember what I might be doing next.

One of the signs that I am actually "getting better" is finding myself with flow energy more frequently. However "overdoing it" and relapses for day to weeks on end are still not uncommon.

I am also aware that the amount of energy I have in an ebb period is still more than many people have in a flow period. When people comment on the amount I get done I feel guilty that I have somehow misrepresented my condition as being worse than it is, particularly since I know many people who fare far worse. It would be easy to fall into the trap of feeling that this makes me an impostor with nothing to complain about, rather than accepting that being less-unwell is still, unwell.
marsden_online: (write)
2017-04-17 10:49 pm

Waiting for the cheque to clear

Toward the end of last week the EQC payout for the drain replacement arrived in my mailbox. Because it was a holiday weekend (Easter) banking it was less immediate than I would have liked, but after an uncomfortable couple of days sitting on a substantially large cheque I got it deposited. Now my internet banking shows two balances, one slightly unreal total and one much smaller "available".

Once the cheque clears I will be zipping most of that money off into a less "touchable" location while I work on plans for the next round of overdue household maintenance. Meanwhile my half-asleep brain suggested to me last night that this is actually quite an apt analogy for how I often find myself feeling about life. That is I am told that I have built up all this credit of various sorts (social), but I can't actually seem to access it in the ways I want it to have immediate value to me.

Objectively I realise this is because at some level I still have internalised the idea that if you do enough of the "right things" for people, you will get back the "right things" (you want) in return.

This segues into feelings about a post which has been shared through my Facebook feed a few times in the past week. The post itself is a screen capture of a tumblr post, I've tracked down the original but the author's Tumblr is very NSFW and comes with a blanket trigger warning so I'm going to quote the whole post here as well. (Not least to have a permacopy, but also because screen-caps are not non-sighted-user friendly.)
What I mean when I say “toxic monogamy culture”
- the normalization of jealousy as an indicator of love
- the idea that a sufficiently intense love is enough to overcome any practical incompatibilities
- the idea that you should meet your partner’s every need, and if you don’t, you’re either inadequate or they’re too needy
- the idea that a sufficiently intense love should cause you to cease to be attracted to anyone else
- the idea that commitment is synonymous with exclusivity
- the idea that marriage and children are the only valid teleological justifications for being committed to a relationship
- the idea that your insecurities are always your partner’s responsibility to tip-toe around and never your responsibility to work on
- the idea that your value to a partner is directly proportional to the amount of time and energy they spend on you, and it is in zero-sum competition with everything else they value in life
- the idea that being of value to a partner should always make up a large chunk of how you value yourself

Now we know that I emotionally even when not philosophically bought into some of these quite strongly during my younger years. It's probable that some of them still lurk below the surface waiting to strike when (if) the opportunity arises, as I have come to a better rational understanding secondhand through observation and "book learning" rather than through actual personal experience.

Actually reading through the list properly for the first time though it was the last one that struck me hard. Being of value to others does make up an overwhelmingly large part of how I value and define myself. I mean once you get past survival, once you get past living comfortably, what else is there?

[tangent]
For lack of a specific partner I have channeled my energy and devotion into an array of causes and people / non-romantic interactions/relationships over the years, but all the time craving that singular connection in return.

Not I should probably say as a singular recipient of all my attention, I care for others far too easily for that, but more as an anchor or a touchstone or a companion to share the journey with such that when it feels I am lost and storm-tossed on the seas of life, throwing cargo overboard for nowt but the space filling up with water I can reach to one side and be certain that someone is close there to me, and the world will well again.

That might seem like a terrible load to ask, it might seem as if I am expecting someone to "meet [my] every need", but in truth it's a fairly narrow subset of my needs, just potentially intense. I am lucky, oh I know how lucky I am, to have many committed friends now whom provide support in various ways, some who have gone out of their way to provide more than I ever asked and more importantly work on opening me up so I could accept and lean on that support for a while.

But even the most determined of my friends has not made a connection that feels like we are actually sharing each others lives to any great degree. It is more that our lives touch from time to time, like the courses of ships travelling the same way for a little while but not bound for the same port. That their course may change without notice or that they could pass beyond reach at any moment due to a swell or a storm.
[/tangent]

What else is there? Some people do fixate on a measure or measures representing material worth, striving to make the numbers ever greater. I don't know that they are actually valuing themselves. Some people spend their lives chasing the thrill of new experiences, I don't know how they value themselves. Some people seem to feel that just existing is value enough, they are welcome to that but at a fundamental level I don't understand how knowing that adding value is how the society they enjoy living in came to exist, they feel no responsibility to maintain it or drive to add more.

How does one have value to oneself? One is. Value only comes into existence when one interacts.

Perhaps I am off on the wrong track. Perhaps first I should be looking closer at another word I used without really thinking above. Perhaps value follows from how we define ourselves, but how even do we do that?

It's a post for another day now, but I do very strongly define the person I want to be because there is another person I know I am capable of being or even am by default, and that I have made the decision is not the person I value myself as.

[tangent]
Far too many people are perhaps still too busy just trying to survive to really think about valuing themselves. It take less energy to believe what others say about your value, to let others decide your value :( Another link I have already shared today: Addicts or not, workers don’t deserve public shaming.
[/tangent]
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-04-07 08:29 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for March(ish)

Produced 263 units
Exported 103 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 160 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $55.90
marsden_online: (elf)
2017-03-29 10:42 pm

About and to a younger me

If I am honest I have been procrastinating starting this post. But I have also been rolling bits of it around and around in my head.

To start go and read the comic No 'I' in Sex from Toby Morris's PencilSword, if you haven't seen it already. The rest of this post will wait :)
continued )