marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-10-16 10:30 pm

Sunnier days (dear diary update)

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: (Cat Yarn)
2017-08-28 07:03 pm
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
2017-08-06 10:08 pm

Things about my involvement with the Hall

Whenever I get overwhelmed by life people suggest I should cut my ties to Antonio Hall. I'm not sure why this is the first thing that comes to mind for them, over say gaming or work both of which often come with similar proportions of frustration to reward.

I am well aware that at some point the decision is going to be taken out of my hands. The Hall will be sold or the owners will decide to develop the site themselves or some other condition will arise which puts and end to the work we are doing there. (Here actually,as I type this between groups of photographers on a beautiful warm autumny day in the middle of winter.) At that time I will grieve then move on to some other project. But for now it does fulfill several important needs in my life.

Enforced down/quiet/me time
Away from the computer and stream of internet where I can let my brain just settle, or read, or write, or prep for games. With advance warning I have my laptop and phone charged, one for writing (one of those things I mean to do more of) and the other for reading through the backlog of email newsletters a few at a time (and still being reachable and checking FB every 30 minutes or so for that sense of connection). This is good for me on multiple levels.

Meeting new and interesting people and building something together
- I enjoy witnessing the amazement at and enjoyment of the Hall. Even for those who simply come through once on a tour (number beyond count now) I know I have played a small part in bringing some amount of wonder into their lives, and that's a good feeling.
- Breaking out of my social limits and meeting new people was one of the reasons I got myself involved in organising more than just a few visits for my friends in the first place, and it still stands. Some of these people have gone on to become valued friends in their own rights.
- Another good feeling is at the end of a working bee day (or other fix-up session) when we look and see what a difference has been made. Nowhere else in my life do I get this feeling of actual physical achievement as part of a team. Work - independent projects. Gaming success (RPG but also team board/card games) are great, but they lack the sense of having made a (short but) lasting impact on the real world. Which brings us to ...

The opportunity to make a real difference
Much as I enjoy the activity, "work" rarely presents me with the opportunity to really make things better for people. Many of my "good deeds" are very much stop-gap measures backed by the belief that things can and will get (or be made) better for people in the medium/long term. House projects will have benefits for people after me, but that's a very long term payoff which I will probably not see in person.

The people whom we enable to come to the Hall - many of them take away something lasting. More than just memories and amazing photos but /experiences/ ... often experience and progress towards an assessment or goal of theirs. And just maybe a little more inspiration to step up somewhere and make some other part of the world better.

And if not me, then who? (Not entirely a rhetorical question, perfectly willing to share responsibility :) )
It's hard to explain how important that fundamental idea of making a positive difference is in my approach to the world. I can usually only make very small differences now-and-again, but here and now with the Hall it is possible to make a whole lot of them. The benefits as I see them almost always outweigh the cost to me. (It's just that the bill sometimes comes due unexpectedly).
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: (Sisters)
2017-06-19 06:19 pm

Stumbling to the beat of a broken drum(mer)

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

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

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

I find myself just wanting to walk away from almost everything ... but that is not a feasible option.
marsden_online: (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)
2017-04-19 09:27 pm
Entry tags:

How I get "so much" done

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am also aware that the amount of energy I have in an ebb period is still more than many people have in a flow period. When people comment on the amount I get done I feel guilty that I have somehow misrepresented my condition as being worse than it is, particularly since I know many people who fare far worse. It would be easy to fall into the trap of feeling that this makes me an impostor with nothing to complain about, rather than accepting that being less-unwell is still, unwell.
marsden_online: (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: (Sisters)
2017-01-02 11:21 am

"What shalll we do today, brain?"

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: (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: (loved)
2016-11-13 04:06 pm

The lie about being a burden

This is something I wrote to someone who is finding everything too much at the moment. I have been asked to make it more widely available - if you feel it would help someone please feel free to share it. If that is the post, please use the Dreamwidth version. Link at bottom if you are reading this on LiveJournal.

~~~
I don't know you very well, we've maybe spoken a couple of times at parties and other than that only what I see on FB. But I'd like to share something I've learnt in times like these - we're /taught/ that it's a bad thing to be a "burden" but that's a lie. People will happily carry something (or someone) they see value in. Additionally the context always seems to consider the weight as if it all has to be borne by /one/ person. This is also false.

Sometimes we just have to accept little bits of ourselves being carried by different people as, when and how they can. And life is a complicated beast so sometimes individual people have to set down the responsibility or they (and we) have to let it pass to a different person.

And yes sometimes it feels that we are the only one left to carry our own weight with no hope of respite, and that can be a terrible, crushing, soul destroying feeling. But it is never, ever true. Sometimes we do drop pieces of ourselves along the trail, or cannibalise our ability to care about something to make it through another day. There is always hope. There is always another day. Someone will smile at us, even a stranger in the street, or comment on something we post and the weight will lift a little.

We all become a burden at some point in our lives. I believe it is just part of the human learning experience. When we come out the other side - granted not all do and every one of those is a loss worth grieving - we are better prepared and equipped to carry not only ourselves forward but others as well, strength permitting.

The comments on this post show you have a lot of people who see value in you, even if you don't, can't believe it right now. I certainly do even if all I have to offer are my words. They are willing to lift and carry you for a while. Trust them. Lie back and ride the crowd. Rest. Be well.
~~~

As a bonus here is a something else hopefully uplifting another of my friends shared.

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: (Blueknight)
2016-09-14 11:34 pm
Entry tags:

Today in not following the Doctor's advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

(With a full day ahead of me I did manage to drag myself up at 8:30am this morning; and true to form I have had a very productive day as a result.)
marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
2016-09-02 11:45 pm

2016 48 hour party post

This year I hosted the 48 [crosses off non-existent bucket list]. Much has been made of this but for me it was a relatively straightforward matter snip )