marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-08-15 12:19 am
Entry tags:

Pay day thoughts

Last pay day I posted this to my Facebook
By some coincidence the amount I have earned this week (after tax) is within $5 of the bill I have to pay pretty much as soon as that money lands in my account.

It quickly occurred to me that this might be read as a bit "tone deaf" or "or the nose" by many of my less-well-off friends and an explanatory comment was in order.
I realise this situation or worse is the weekly reality for a great many people, without the buffer I have to meet other expenses over the coming week. It does me no harm to think more carefully about their experience and my spending for a bit.

It is important to me to examine and remember this experience and this feeling for better empathy with those around me; hopefully this privileged self-indulgence doesn't come over too badly.

snip )
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-08-03 03:36 pm
Entry tags:

The field in which I grow my fucks is nourished by my flesh and blood

My brain agreed that writing this post was part of an acceptable plan for what to do after getting out of bed. Now that I get to it it doesn't want to cooperate :(

My ability to get out of bed has been swinging wildly the past few weeks; sometimes early enough to do 6 hours at work, sometimes so late I only get 3-4 hours. It's been averaging out OK as far as my earnings go.

After a pretty bad day Tuesday when I ended up just doing a few hours from home, yesterday (Wednesday) I had what would have been a really good day. Somehow stayed out of bed from a bathroom trip at half-past-six, was at work about 8, did 6 and a half hours and could have done more /except/ I was booked to show a film group around the Hall at 3pm because they want to use the location on Friday. They only asked on Monday and really I should have said no sorry, too short notice; but I am unfair on myself like that.

This was after another group whom I had agreed to give a tour on Tuesday because they couldn't do weekends had cancelled and asked to come in on Sunday instead ... I mean the cancellation was good it was the only reason I got any work done instead of having to take the whole day off. (I had of course planned to use the afternoon commitment as motivation to be at work early Tuesday.)

Anyway after yesterdays early start and a variety of errands and chores after work and the Hall I went to bed in good time hoping for a repeat. I even had multiple alarms set with a positive message.

My brain lied me into snoozing the first alarm twice before turning it off, then turning the second one off and despite feeling positive while touching base by txt with a friend about 8am then dragged me under again. Executive dysfunction then continued to keep me in bed until after midday - a good 14 hours - and was perfectly willing to keep me there the rest of the day, bladder notwithstanding. It was very nice there, I would have liked to be able to just do that.

Eventually I reached the understanding that I was not going to be permitted out of bed without taking the rest of the day off for some sort of "me" time, no significant amount of which is on the horizon and all recent attempts at which have been interrupted by people in need of helping out. (For example Sunday had been completely free except for gaming in the evening but I ended up showing a pair of photographers around the Hall so they can use it for a bridal shoot this coming weekend, then hosting some friends who don't currently have a working washing machine for several loads through mine+dryer and cooking them a hot meal.)

It is a thing which I have known for some time, that one of the reasons I have difficultly getting out of bed is because it is my only "me time". Once I am up and at the computer my world becomes at least 40% about other people most of the time. Today I made a list

Things in my life mostly for me

- Sleeping, eating, showering, lighting the fire
- game prep when I'm not fitting it in at the last minute
- computer gaming which I haven't done in months
- certain types of reading which I haven't done in weeks
- gardening which hasn't happened in weeks
- writing, which also hasn't been happening

Things 30-70% for or about other people

- Gaming, work, most household chores
- keeping up with current affairs and technology
- parties, photos

Things mostly about other people

- almost everything I do at the Hall
- other good works

Things on the above lists that I sometimes do-not-want but do anyway
- some household chores
- some Hall time. Increasing amounts of Hall time actually as I'm not feeling very supported in the use-oriented intentions I have there.

The irony is that being kept in bed such long hours ("off" time) means I have to spend my other hours ("on" time) tending to outside commitments and rarely get far enough through those to do the things for myself. Although of course actually having time to or for with myself usually comes with the sharp edge of being reminded that I am not /by myself/ from choice and I would rather be doing things with (or as) selected company.... which brings us back to one reason so much of what I do do is oriented as a distraction from those feelings. Which leave me so drained that depression and executive dysfunction mean I can't get out of bed....

I know even if I do get out of bed "early" or "on time" right now the extra hours will just get eaten usually by work in the first instance followed by the Hall or chores or other backed-up spoon-using activities on my to-do list. And while I do enjoy work and the money is nice ... the work is not adding much to the world and I'm not spending the money on myself at present (and even when I do that brings only mild satisfaction) ... the other things are generally break-even or worse; even the things "for" me.

This is all ground I have been over before. I've been going over it for years. I mean I've learnt some ways of making better use of what I have in that time, but when I stand back and look at the results most seems to have been about making the ground more fertile for /others/ (and I in no way regret what I have achieved there); I'm still no closer to being able to water my own roots.

I do not know if this post has achieved anything. I do know that I am running out of time, and this afternoon hasn't actually left me feeling any more refreshed.
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: (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: (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: (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: (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 )
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-02-27 12:30 pm
Entry tags:

"Sometimes brick walls are made of flesh"...

... and right now I am my own worst brick wall. I just ... agghhh. It's so frustrating :( I don't know what the problem /is/! Where is the /clue/, where is the /key/? There is nothing obviously wrong with me.

There are so many things I want, need to get done; little things mostly; but I seem to have /run out of can/ even to get out of bed in the /morning/. And important things in my life are not happening because of it.

* subject line reference https://youtu.be/ji5_MqicxSo

~~~

End of the day addendum; managed to leave the house, feeling at run ove by a steamroller level. By tehe time I got to work (about 1:30pm) I was only feeling run over by a truck. I then managed to comfortably do 6ish hours work (staying late) before coming home and still being alert enough to catch up on some online reading. Just WTF self?
marsden_online: (skull)
2017-01-20 10:55 pm

Unwanted patterns re-emerging / Treasure

On Monday I cut my planned holidays short by a week and went back to work to deal with issues which had been unfinished last year and blown up over the Xmas/NY closure. This wasn't entirely unexpected so I was mentally prepared and even eager; so much so that I was at work uncommonly early on Monday and pushed through a 7-hour day in determination to complete what I was working on. (Which I didn't, but made satisfactory progress.) This may have been a mistake so I wasn't unduly concerned when I did not manage the same start on Tuesday, but by Wednesday I was lying in bed in the grip of a very familiar slough, one that held me even more as the week passed so that I didn't actually get out of bed these past two days until after 11am and to work until about 1pm. (Despite that quite a productive week. Quiet office.)

The stupid thing (well, one of many) is that on Wednesday I had been out of bed about 6am to put bread (left to rise overnight) in the oven and again about 7am to take it out. If I had just stayed out of bed I would have made it through the day just fine.

Excepting the really good start on Monday this is of course the pattern of my life which I have been trying to change for the past few years. And it really was absent over the break; or at least the feeling of weight that kept me in bed when I knew I ought to be elsewhere. Thinking back there were one or two times it resurged, when I was only partially enthused for some commitment or other.

I do not want to go through another year like this. As I sit here I don't actually know if I can face/deal with going through another year like this. It seems so unnecessary, and it should be such a simple thing for me simply to stay out of bed each morning.

Installing a standing desk has shaken up my routine and broken some of my bad computer habits, doubtless contributing to the amount of other things which have got done over the past couple of weeks; I am seriously considering reserving the bed for naps for a few months and at nights sleeping on the couch in the dining room to see if that does the trick.

~~~
In better news on Monday I gave a home to a box of old RPG books that a friend was disposing of before heading back overseas. Never mind that I haven't finished reading through the acquisitions from the last time I did that, a couple of years ago (longer)? There's some good stuff in there; collectibles and useful references.

books laid out for display
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-01-15 09:48 pm

Gardening and other things

Over the past couple of weeks I have spent quite a lot of time gardening one way and another. Whether helping out a friend, digging out a tree stump (two more to go) and filling my now enlarged green bin with weeds and rubbish from my own garden, harvesting some of the the still-present potato population or yesterday an intensive working bee at the Hall I have laid to rest the concerns about an apparent drop in stamina which sent me to the Dr before Xmas.

spade, hole and tree stump
I dug a thing!



I have also acquired a substantial number of blisters, scrapes and scratches on my hands and forearms, and some sunburn. There has also been the luxury of being able to collapse after each period of activity. In fact once the New Year Blues lifted my activity pattern has pretty much been bursts of energy and motivation followed by equal periods of lethargy and exhaustion. There has been a lot of napping.

A few other things I have accomplished:
- baking bread (gluten-free, from a sourdough "bug" gifted by a friend)
- standing desk (previously posted)
- hosting my now-annual bring-a-thing for charity boardgaming day. Attendance was (disappointingly #ifIamhonest) lower this year than previously but I think that was mostly a co-incidence of timing. Normally it would have been a week or so later.
- several enjoyable outings with small groups of friends, myself specifically invited rather than the broadly invited parties and such which make up most of my socialising
- A variety of cleaning tasks around the house, but these have taken a back seat to the gardening.

For all the bursts of energy I still have a list of things I would like to get accomplished this holiday that have not been reached. I have not completed the prep for the next arc of the game I am running on Sundays; indeed I have managed barely any. (A small relief that tonights game was cancelled after two players could not make it, giving me another week and time today to among other things have a nap and write this post. Which will make 12 tasks crossed off todays todo list alone.) There are still gardening and annual cleaning tasks to be done (some of which are years overdue all ready ...). There are still several books I had planned to take time to read. More blog posts to be written.

Tomorrow I am cutting my holiday short by a week and returning to work early to deal with matters arising for one of my current major projects and another regular project which I have been on-called to deal with this past week. Given the state of things when work closed for the Xmas break I was half-expecting this to be the case so I am not mentally unprepared. I don't expect to be doing my full-time hours, just what is needed for these projects so I will still have "spare" time to schedule getting things done in, but it will be back to scheduling rather than the free-flow approach which has seen me be (what feels) so productive over the last few weeks.

I hope to be able to springboard off this time into a routine which sticks with me for the year, if I can keep myself from wanting and attempting to do all-the-things at once. Especially as the days get shorter again. I know my level of success at this has been mixed in all previous years and am not entirely confident.
marsden_online: (Default)
2017-01-05 08:51 am
Entry tags:

A day with good fortune and a standing desk setup

Yesterday was a good day. I woke up feeling somewhat as if my brain had reset from the previous few days self-inflicted misery and ready to get on with some things. The weather was not conducive to planned gardening so I set out on an extended series of shopping errands, acquiring
- a socket set and impulsively a fairly comprehensive set of screwdriver heads / drill bits for my power drill/driver
- more half-price short-dated bacon than I am easily going to consume (good stuff from a butcher, not water-filled supermarket stuff).
- ditto discount bananas (from the supermarket, not the butcher)
- the real score of the day was visiting the EcoShop to find items useful for converting my home computing environment to a standing workstation. I picked out two items which between them came to somewhat more than I really intended to pay, not discovering until I reached checkout that the store was having a "five dollar furniture day". :D

The two bits cleaned up nicely, most of the markings coming off with a little Jif and elbow grease. The screwdriver heads I had impulsively bought earlier meant I had the bit I needed to remove the wheels from the horizontal cabinet :)

A lot of unplugging and replugging later, this is the result.

Photo of the new setup including resident cat

The monitor alignment is a bit odd but unlike like work where all 3 monitors are pretty much constantly in use at home the left one is usually off and the right is quite auxiliary. I am actually finding having it a little higher to be better than the lower it was before. If I had a touch screen in the array I would find it very tempting to experiment with that much lower angled up.

I've been wanting to experiment with a standing desk for some time, multiple reasons including
- less sitting / stronger posture (my sciatica has been playing up regularly over the past year)
- less getting "trapped" at the computer: just the few hours I have spent yesterday proved that once I have finished everything I have to do I am more likely to wander off and do something else than sit there flipping between social media channels
-- sitting time is more likely to be non-screen dominated eg reading an actual book (Terry Pratchett's "Men At Arms" this day), game prep (I have the laptop if I feel the need to sit and write something extended and again that will at least happen in another room)
-- also no more eating at the computer, which is another shake up to my routine.
- An improvement in my touch-typing as it is not quite as easy to just glance down at the keyboard.

An added bonus is that the powerboard and case now being at normal-desk height mean I no longer have a nest of cables gathering dust down on the floor beside the desk. I've put the chair in there for the moment and the room actually feels a little less cluttered as a result.
marsden_online: (Default)
2016-12-30 10:53 pm

2016 in review

Reading back over my LJ and FB it looks like I started the year in much the same place emotionally as I am right now, there were quite a lot of individual good days in the company of friends but also some pretty bad patches - May, July, October through now ... I may have made some progress on identifying some of the puzzle pieces ...

My regular Sunday and Monday games were regular high points, other gaming was mixed. Recorded some good games; know I didn't bother griping about many not-so-good ones.

My muse turned on a few times, mostly in February and March but there are a few other substantial opinion posts througout the year.

I'm confident that I made a positive difference in the lives of a number of people over the year; less confident that I didn't impact negatively on anyone.

Politically the world seemed to continue to go to shit, both in NZ and overseas.

~~~
Notable events:

February: substantial aftershock just a few days short of the 5th anniversary of the 2011 quake brought everything flooding back for a lot of people.

April: Family reunion in the high country, returned to find an acquaintance had passed to cancer.

June: Buckets of Dice (mixed)
: combined having to get the drains replaced due earthquake damage with getting some substantial garden alterations done above ground, a very expensive month which nevertheless crossed two major projects off the list.

August: Hosted the KAOS 48 Hour Party despite being plagued myself during the weekend.

September: started a new drug/supplement, which didn't seem to help. Discontinued at the end of the 3-month course (wasn't subsidised)

November: SAGA's 48 hour charity event
: "Kaikoura" earthquakes (ongoing)

December:
This year I didn't spend anything on my family for Xmas and instead focused on friends and other acquaintances whom I knew needed some nice things in their lives.

Had the family lunch not been at my relatively close parents I would not have attended that for the first time ever; this was something I was doing for myself as I did not feel up to the effectively full day of travel otherwise would have entailed. I did then end up appearing (and eating) at 3 different socials among friends in Christchurch and was quite exhausted by the end of the day but overall it felt lower-key.

I do appear to have completely exhausted myself physically* (gardening/housework) and mostly exhausted myself emotionally so I am hoping for a good KAOS New Years party tomorrow night to pick me up. Historically this is against the odds.

* My stamina seems to have plummeted over the year. I went to the Dr concerned a few weeks ago and he sent me off for a raft of blood tests, which I haven't heard back from yet.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
2016-12-05 01:50 pm

Worried about me

Last night / this morning I had what I guess was an actual nightmare, considerably ... more icky than my standard nightly fare of angry-making or struggling-to-control dreams. Additionally for the past 2-3 weeks although my mood is OK several other markers have been in the red:
snip )
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
2016-11-14 09:36 pm

An emotionally draining day / weekend

Most people are probably aware that over the past going on 24 hours NZ has been hit by another series of major earthquakes starting at very just after midnight Sunday/Monday. I had not long gone to bed when it hit so after about 10 seconds of "aftershock" and then ~ 1:20 minutes of "nope, crap, that's a BIG quake inland just getting here" and some minutes on FB checking that no-one in Christchurch itself was reporting major issues I went off to sleep, thus not seeing the tsunami warning and evacuation notices (which didn't affect me anyway) until checking again during a wake around 4am. I figured if anyone needed transport or to shelter at my place I would get a message or txt directly so I slept for another few hours, starting the day feeling not significantly tireder than usual. That wasn't to last.

Fortunately I had already booked the day off work to recover from attending a 48 hour charity event over the weekend (more on that below). The first hour or so I spent touching base with various people by FB and phone before starting on my pre-existing chores list. I didn't get through as much of this as hoped - a somewhat overdue cleaning of the bathroom leaving me physically exhausted and attempting to set the ball rolling on a safety inspection of the Hall further soaked up energy. I eventually spent 2-3 hours napping - in part to shut down some nervous energy and generalised anxiety - before setting out to help a friend with transport and hugs, do the grocery shopping and after a simple dinner deliver some care packages. (One of which had already been on my to-do list but which under the circumstances I bulked up a bit more ;) ) I could tell that I probably shouldn't be driving well before I got home, and if I wasn't waiting for a better time to take my meds I would be back in bed already.

~~~
Friday / Saturday I spent about 24 hours total at SAGA's now-annual 48-hour gaming event to raise money for charity (this year AVIVA). I'll just copy and paste from my FB statuses here ...

---
Saturday 4:30pm
Plays so far:
Colony Wars (obliterated by Daniel Starky's base spam strategy)
Thurn & Taxis (resounding win)
Dominion w. Prosperity (barely last but a long way from the winner)
Broken Eagle the Learned Nano who Combines Words of Power is about to set out into the world of Numenera in search of greater knowledge.

Saturday 10:50pm
After Numenera finished off for the day with a game of Tiny Kingdoms. Didn't do particularly well but probably OK for a first time.
I'd liked to have stayed longer but it is patently obvious that it would be a very bad Idea. If I can get a good sleep tonight I may be able to stay later tomorrow night.

Sunday 3:20am
Didn't get to games until after 2pm but then stayed somewhat longer than expected. Still 3am is no later than I get home from a good party. Cat seems unimpressed by my long absence.
Plays today (pretty sure I have forgotten something)
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Settlers of Catan
DC Heroes
Colony Wars
Zombie Dice
Biblios
Kingsburg
Seven Wonders
Istanbul (new)
---

... preliminary reports are that we raised well over $1000 if everyone comes through on their pledges. I enjoyed myself - overly much so without really realising it, on the Friday in particular which left me stuck in bed until much later than I had planned on Saturday. I did spend more time and energy than I had hoped taking the lead in deciding on and teaching games; the teaching not so much of a problem (I was actually recommended, to my face, and later even messaged thanks for the fun time someone had as a result). I also made sure one person who probably otherwise would not have made it but I knew would benefit greatly from getting out of the house got both there and home.

As always I experienced more downtime between games than I would have liked, but I had gone prepared for that also with things to do.

Sunday afternoon (you noticed the status update at 3:20AM above?) was spent on a few chores and Sunday evening instead of my usual game we chilled and watched Guardians of the Galaxy which a couple of our members had missed at the theatre. (I am really enjoying the new projector.) I actually went to bed feeling uncommonly relaxed and happy ... and then the quake hit.

~~~
That has filled in the time nicely; shortly I will be abed and hopefully will feel much better in the morning. Because otherwise I am /not/ looking forward to work tomorrow.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
2016-11-05 12:06 am

Run down and ragged (again)

When I first started intending to write this post it was as good news. That was a couple of weeks ago when I had leveraged cat-sitting for a friend into sufficient motivation to get out of bed at a good time in the morning several days in a row. I had also taken the week off gaming at SAGA to be home with cats which actually freed up 8-10 hours of time; some of which I spent working from home (light stuff) but much of which was just pressure-free. It is notable how much lighter I felt just not feeling that I "needed" / was expected to be at gaming those nights.

it's all downhill from here )
marsden_online: (write)
2016-07-10 12:38 am

May have figured out /why/ I have difficulty "asking"

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: (BlueDragon)
2016-07-02 08:19 pm

Killing time; waiting to die #overlymelodramatic

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: (Sisters)
2016-05-01 07:51 pm

Like living run through with a spear - the shaft keeps catching on things

I am /very/ run down at the moment as demonstrated by (among other things)
snip )
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
2016-03-13 01:08 pm

Sympathetic Earthquake Brain

"Earthquake brain" is a term coined to describe certain mental symptoms of stress which rear their ugly heads in many people as and after the earth moves. They can range from irritability and trouble focussing to emotional breakdowns. Here in Canterbury the earth has been very active for the past month or so; compounded by this period coinciding with the 5th anniversary of the February 2011 quake and a deliberate neglect of the regions' post-disaster mental-health needs by central government.

I don't suffer directly from earthquake brain (fortunate) but have nevertheless noticed my mental health take a sharp downtick as I worry for the state of my (less-fortunate) friends; which is always top-of-mind after I feel a jolt or a wobble come through.

There are other factors to my mood drop - there always are certain circumstances in Feb/Mar and this year there is a new one.

So I've been feeling run-down, worn out, unenthusiastic about and not focused on work, procrastinating way too much and overwhelmed by my to-do list outside work, and helpless in the face of it all. To get some stuff done and close some loops I took (tried to take) a mental health day last week in conjunction with my monthly psych appointment but that didn't go well overall.
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2015-12-31 02:35 pm
Entry tags:

2015 Year in review

Reading back over what I did (and didn't) write in LJ/FB the year went pretty well. Mood wise it sucked for significant parts especially around work, but a second change in meds seems to have fixed most of the "unable to get out of bed" issues I was having and this has had a flow on effect.

It was a drawn out process but the solar panels were installed and activated. Gaming was consistently good. Responsibility for Hall working bees was taken by a new enthusiast who brought a team or others with her. Financially I feel comfortable and splashed out on electronics for myself in the Xmas sales, this is being written on a new flipbook (ex-display, excellent price). In September I had to replace my faithful old camera.

I added my body and camera to some public protests, didn't actually make any new acquaintances in the process as I didn't have the time/energy available to take a part in organising them. I engaged in the comments of a few articles actually speaking up for my values and defending the respect due others who could not be there to defend themselves.

People generally thought I was awesome and told me so repeatedly, even though this didn't make the dent in my low moods I would have liked it to. I am finishing the year under attack from the holiday blues, which I am about to go and try to nap off in preparation for the party tonight.