marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
The life updates I've posted so far this year have all been pretty shit. As is often the case when I've had enough positive energy I've been too busy trying to get things done to take or make the time to update here about day-to-day stuff. Facebook really has claimed that space in my life; although even there it is mostly a stream of articles and links about what I have read today online that I consider important, and jottings from gaming sessions.

There are still many things I could be attending to instead of posting, but someone worth writing about has come into my life and her presence and support is helping me get back on track. Yes, I have fallen into a relationship with a lovely lady of about my own age, based in Wellington but that's not an insurmountable issue in this age of electronic long-distance communication and affordable plane travel. We have just spent the better part of a fortnight in the same city (a trip arranged pre-relationship around other circumstances) and I was surprised at the feeling of loss as she walked out to the plane home; I am very cautious about letting myself feel too deeply too fast for anyone but apparently she managed to sneak something past my guard ;)

Positive impacts on my life and ability to do stuff include
- talking on the phone in the evenings winding down my brain for sleep
- wake-up calls and encouragement to get out of bed in the morning
- the "companionship" segment in my life filled in enough that life rolls a little more like a wheel and a little less like a triangle
- various topics and triggers of angst not having anything to get a grip on any more
- an overall improved feeling of wellbeing

Some of these will also be due to the season and increased daylight hours; and of course I'm not miraculously un-depressed. My sleep quality is still pretty rubbishy and quantity required still high. Anxiety about my performance at work has actually jumped even as I have found more reason to be there and work better.

But. Enough mental cycles have freed up that I am looking towards and thinking about the future with an energy that I have not had for a long time.

Happy days.

In other news
- my Monday gaming group has wrapped up for the moment; work and other commitments taking some of us away from the table.
- my Sunday game continues to progress although again real life means making some adjustments there.
- I've managed to slightly dent the reading pile.
- Friday just past was the 13th and I hosted another Gothic Vampire party (last year the opportunity was missed). There were fewer people than I had expected; but most seemed to be having a good time
- LBTC Gytha continues to be herself
- One of the Hall rabbits (domestics "released" into the grounds by someone at New Years) crossed the road and got itself picked up and taken to the vet by a neighbour; so we now know they are not microchipped and may be one step closer to rehoming them.
- We might just about be on top of the spring growth at the Hall this year; working bees have managed to be almost-monthly although it is still rare that anyone other than the Rovers and myself show up.
- I have had some issues with the number of requests for Hall time we've been getting from people who seem to think we're open 24/7 at the drop of an email.
- I've kind of given up on managing it myself and started paying someone to deal with some of the gardening and such.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
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: (write)
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 )

Tapped out

May. 6th, 2017 10:14 pm
marsden_online: (skull)
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)
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?

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.

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.

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.
marsden_online: (elf)
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: (Cat Yarn)
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: (Sisters)
The same thing we do every day, fight the ennui and despair with distractions* until we are past exhaustion."
"But what if we are past exhaustion** to start with brain?"
"Then we're fucked, and not in the good way***."
ya-snip )
marsden_online: (write)
There's a bit of a zeitgeist going around at least in my echo chamber about 2016 and the deaths of a number of celebrities who were of great influence on my cohort in their formative years. I have been mostly an observer in all this as I have never really attached to a real-world role model in this way. Partly because growing up I never had exposure to the same mass-media which made them household names elsewhere, but as I read more about what each of these people meant and represented to people only a click away through social media it becomes clear that it is also greatly because as a cishet white male on an easy course through life I never needed that role-model to aspire to. (Which isn't to say that I wouldn't have been the better for some more varied role models in my life.)

This was particularly well summed up in what I think was a retweet I saw a couple of days ago but have been unable to find to quote exactly, thanking "Prince, David Bowie, George Michael for showing me there was more than one way to express masculinity". Searching has however shown that this is a very common sentiment.

Today it is Carrie Fisher (among others, to be sure) we are mourning; and I do mean we because although I do not have the same strong personal connection I am not so emotionally stunted that I can not respect and and share in the grief for a woman who stood for - and spoke out for - so much to so many.

But to quote one angry man we "lost" in 2015
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”

These people and many others both past and still with us are the butterflies which create storms on the other side of the world with a flap of their wings. But they did (and do) it not by flexing their own but by inspiring others to do the same, until the beat of a million wings upon wings creates a force which can not be ignored.

With their passing the storms which are their legacy still rage and they will not be forgotten as long as those they inspired, and those whom are in turn inspired, over and over ... as long as we continue to beat our wings, sing their/our songs, carry their light*.

* I don't believe Princess Leia ever used a light sabre. But I believe wasn't entirely unrelated that that she was dressed in light/white, and Carrie stepped up to be a beacon in the real world.

It's particularly poignant for me that I write this today as I remember a friend of my own.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
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: (Sisters)
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: (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: (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.]

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."



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: (Rage)
This year was very mixed for me. I think I probably broke-even with Saturday compensating for the disappointments of both Saturday and Monday, but it is currently the end of Monday and I am exhausted and grumpy.
snip )
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Giving is a major part of my life. Probably the greater part of it is invisible; charities I regularly support, flybys on givealittle and so forth but to be honest I find these less satisfying than what I can do directly for those around me. Making someone's life immediately better even if only for a short time kicks off one of the few emotional highs remaining to me. You can argue about whether than makes it altruistic giving or not elsewhere, I don't care. What is important to me is that there is less stress in a persons' life at frankly, little substantial cost to me.
- pad your groceries? People who have full stomachs are happier, healthier and think better.
- top up your bus card? Represents pocket change to me, to you might represent the freedom to leave the house and get to where you want/need to be when you want/need to be.
- covered an unexpected shortfall? Luck comes in good and bad, I have plenty of the former so please let me share it with you.

Life does not treat everyone equally, but it is within our power as people to redress the balance. Especially those of us to whom it has been more than fair; and I think compassion demands that we do so. Some people prefer to argue from a position of self interest - make sure other have (just) enough and they won't be motivated to try and take what you have to redress the balance. That's better than building fortresses ("gated communities") and hiring guards to keep the mob from the door I suppose.

I can understand how a person who has had to struggle, work and fight their whole life to get above the line and stay there might not be able to let go of that mindset, no matter how much success they achieve it may be that in their own mind they will always be poor and one unexpected bill away from disaster. But I also know that there are many who do not fall into that trap and having made their way to a comfortable position do a great deal to try and help others do the same. That makes much more sense to me - having been there how would not want to get other people out of the situation once you have means?

I am not one of of these; the metaphorical spoon in my mouth may not have been silver but it is less through my own efforts that I am where I am today than the gifts afforded from from my parents' hard labours. And so I can understand how, up to a certain age, a person can be raised simply not cognizant of the harsh realities of life for many. In the modern world my sympathy for that mindset runs out a year or two after they have reached university and should have had the opportunity to start taking a critical look at the world around them.

As always grateful that again, life has been more than fair to me and my sympathy for the struggles of others is born of intellect and a sense of fairness than hard personal experience.

So we come back to the position where I have- more than enough and so I endeavour to share my good fortune. I give this less than I would like; for two reasons
- Rationally I do need to keep putting some aside for my own future. How much is arguable, but I am not at the position where I can absolutely soak a large expense (such as the one about to be incurred for drain replacement) just yet, and I have no certainty that NZ's welfare state will be in a condition to look after me in my old age.
- it occupies not just the physical resources but also time and energy.

On this latter we have as a society theoretically harnessed the specialisation of labour to handle this. We pay takes to a central organisation (government) and one of the things they are supposed to do with them is make sure that if life treats us poorly we are looked after to a not-uncomfortable standard. In the meantime our money is (supposed to be) used to look after those who life is currently treating poorly. This should free us from the greater part of a need to worry about the circumstances of our families, friends, acquaintances / strangers.

Our current government is rejecting that part of it's duties (granted it is not the first to do so). Instead of going directly - in cash or in kind - to people who need food and shelter significant amounts of "our" money are shown to be being spent propping up companies that by National's own market ethos should probably be allowed to fail / take their business elsewhere, or paid in bribes to already wealthy individuals in countries where corruption is blatant, or siphoned off as indirect subsidies to private accommodation providers and old-boys-network businesspeople who are already "above the line".

One result of this is that I - multiplied by who-knows-how-many-others - have to spend more of my time and energy personally directing resource to the people I can see in need, and relying on the voids which are charities to be doing the right thing just to help regular people when they should be able to focus on those who positions are truly dire. And in some ways that /waste/ pisses me off just as much as seeing people around me living in poverty and the mis-appropriation of public money.

I am one person of good but still moderate means. I cannot do enough to even scrape the surface. I can feed a few people but I cannot house them. Organisations which have been set up explicitly to address the issues and channel the contributions of people like myself are barely scraping the surface. Central government is actively and deliberately following policies guaranteed to make the situation worse while benefiting those who already have more than enough.

My local council is one of the largest providers of social housing in the country (an operation which is currently being strong-armed to privatisation by central government). I occasionally encounter people who state vehemently how they are against their rates being used for such a purpose. I have no time for this attitude. Homelessness and poverty have both local and regional aspects and I absolutely expect our elected representatives at all levels to work together at the task of redirecting a sufficient portion of our taxes to those in need (rates being pretty much the closest we have in NZ to a formal tax on land even if they are not particularly responsive to capital gains).

Taking care of those who do not have the means to take care of themselves I consider the first duty of a supposedly democratic government. All else follows from or supports that. In doing so, for those of a more right-wing bent, people are freed to be more productive and contribute their best to society and the future rather than burning our all - and in the case of those who turn to crime, others all as well - just to survive.

[deep calming breaths]

The point I was getting around to is actually about the visibility of giving. This morning I posted quickly in my FB and Tumblr

When we talk about “give and take” why is the implication always that the giving and the taking are between the same two entities?

If I am in a position to give freely what someone needs why is it expected that I am expecting something in return? If you are in want of something why should it have to come from someone that already owes you or that you are then expected to owe?

Much better that we all give what we can when we see a need, and try to make out own desires visible without guilt or suspicion for others seeking to fulfil them - or be it necessarily with the the acceptance that there may not be anyone who feels they are in a position to do so.

I know a lot of people above and below the line, and plenty of those have moved from one side to the other and sometimes multiple times over the years. I am fairly public about much of the personal giving I do, not because I desire the plaudits (although they are nice) but in an endeavour to set an example to others above the line who may meander across my trail. To make giving freely visible and accepted, because I alone cannot make a lasting difference.

Related reading: that came through my Facebook feed while I was typing this up: How we got Here
marsden_online: (Sisters)
This morning I reached one of the rare points where I felt I was letting myself down more than others, and that still wasn't enough to overcome the executive dysfunction and get me out of bed.

Every day this happens I feel myself falling further behind on the things I am trying to do.

I toyed with the idea of taking the rest of the day off work too as a mental health day but I have checked my inbox and it is full of error notifications from debugging code I put in last week and a late-Friday request from the client for help, so it looks like I have to go in, only to once again be prevented from finishing the work I was aiming to complete almost every day last week.

For all that the weekend contained a lot of good it also contained a number of loneliness triggers and pain and not eating regularly and all in all appears to have taken a lot more out of me that I had thought.
marsden_online: (Sisters)
I am /very/ run down at the moment as demonstrated by (among other things)
snip )
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
"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.

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