My lack of communication

Recently I have been watching Twitter and not interacting much. This post has been inspired by someone I follow on Twitter who tweets like I used to. This person sometimes struggles to do the task they know will help them feel better. I see the tweets and wish there was something I could do to help them understand.

I watch without tweetting for various reasons

  • I do not feel like I can contribute anything useful
  • Sometimes I just don’t want to have a conversation
  • I am scared of saying the wrong thing and making people upset
  • I am scared of being judged

I am 55. Am I “to old for this shit”? Let’s take each of the above in turn.

“I do not feel I can contribute anything useful.”

Some of you reading this know me better than others. You see me hanging around the edge of conversations and DM me to find out why I do not join in. See below lol.

There is a sex worker I see whenever I am able. We seem to click and we are able to talk openly about anything. Recently, however, I do not feel that I can carry on a useful conversation with her. So what do I do? I do not email or DM her. This is the worst thing I can do for our relationship. I know from experience the joy I feel when my friends DM or email me and just say hello. Why don’t I do the same? There is that deep dark voice inside my head that tells me that I am not a good friend and that thought is what stops me from engaging. I know this thought is wrong, but I find it had to ignore.

I will be contacting my friend after I finish this post.

“Sometimes I just don’t want to have a conversation”

I know there are others who feel this way. You just want to see what is going on, how your friends are doing, read the news, learn useful things, but don’t really have the emotional energy to engage. And this is perfectly fine. So why do I feel guilty when I do this?

“I am scared of saying the wrong thing and making people upset”

I am not good with conflict, especially with those I consider friends. There is a situation on Twitter at the moment that I do not want to talk about for this exact reason. I believe I will upset people I follow. However, here I go talking about it even though I fear there may be a backlash. There is a very robust discussion going on between some people. I follow all the people involved, but I do not think they follow each other. In fact, I know some block the others from time to time. I have not got involved in the discussion on Twitter and will not get involved. I only mention it here as an example of how things can go wrong because sometimes we can say the wrong thing or we say something that can be misinterpreted. This is something I fear greatly.

“I am scared of being judged.”

I find there are very few places in this world today where you are not judged. I am lucky in my work. I enjoy my work and I am very good at it. My speciality is being brought onto a project that has fallen off the rails technically and bringing it back on track. However, work has become an environment in he last few years where you are not allowed to make mistakes. Make a mistake and you are judged, and people remember.

Families judge. I didn’t think my family judged. How naive I am. Since my brother divorced a number of years ago and has recently married again the judgement has been thick and full on. I was one who believed that a family was a place where you could feel safe and loved. I no longer tell my siblings much of what is going on in my life. They know about my depression, anxiety and suicide attempts but I no longer talk to them about that, especially the times I tried to kill myself. Most of the family belong to Christian churches and I now know that they do not look on my previous actions in a favourable light.

Twitter. Twitter is an interesting environment. Things I post are public, I have chosen this to be so. I will not change this until there is a very good reason to do so. I, probably naively, think I am fairly anonymous on Twitter. Being public poses an interesting problem for me. I run the risk of upsetting people I do not follow (and people I do follow). And this has happened. I follow a myriad of people; scientists, sex workers, sex worker clients, writers, poets, artists, football players, religious folk, non-religious folk, skeptics, joke tellers, tattoo artists, PhD academics, and the list goes on. What I do see in all these people is…they are all people who have their own beliefs and feelings. I try my hardest to understand every person I meet. But sometimes that is not enough. And it hurts me deeply when I find that we are unable to communicate in a civil and restectful manner.

Someone, thanks @xxxescortamber, recently posted this on Twitter, Mute, my babes. I can’t agree with Amber enough. Sometimes muting keeps me sane.

Eccles/Barliman
A man who struggles to communicate

The battle continues…

I started this post on the afternoon of 23 January. I write as a way of getting out of a crash. A lot of the time I do not publish my writings. You will see it has been over a year since I published anything. I spent the year feeling that my problems were too insignificant for other people to want to know about. A good friend has asked me to publish this, so here we go…

I lay in bed this morning rolled up in a ball wondering if a fall from the fourth floor would be enough. If I get out of bed will I cope, will I survive.

How did I get here? Last night finished so well. I had confirmed a date with a special lady ūüėäūüėä which I am very excited about. We have started exploring what is to me a new facet to sensuality and intimacy. I may expound on this later.

But this morning, what has happened? What triggered this episode?

I don’t usually say this but I am good at my job, damn good at my job. And for the past 11 years I have been teaching myself how to not take criticism personally. I try now to look at criticism as an opportunity to make myself better at my work and as a person. And I am succeeding at being able to take criticism/comments/suggestions/feedback/etc. It hasn’t flustered me for a very long time now. I can look at the feedback and learn from it and move forward.

The current project has a tight time frame and if we do not get it right may adversely affect a disadvantaged and vulnerable sector of the community. I have read the legislation, perused the rules, analysed the different options and now believe we/I are able to provide a fit for purpose tool for helping make good decisions. This week we are getting ready to start development on the tool in earnest. So all was going well. What happened? One persona few levels up in management said something in a meeting that threw me.

“I bet you can’t do what we need.”

Seems fairly innocent. The comment wasn’t even aimed at me, I wasn’t at the meeting (apparently the meeting was above my pay grade). When the comment was relayed to me an interesting thing happened. Every single insecurity in my life started flooding into my mind. That was me gone for the rest of the day. I went home, had dinner and went to bed.

Do you think I could sleep? Not likely. In fact I was up for a lot of the night sitting by the loo throwing up. That is one of the physical manifestations of my anxiety. Once I finally felt safe to return to bed I lay there thinking of how I was going to fail.

The alarm goes off but I am rolled up in a ball not wanting to get out of bed. Eventually I roll over get out of bed, get dressed and head to the doctor’s and sit in the waiting room waiting for some free time. This is the first time I have turned up without an appointment. He saw me almost straight away. Thank you to the person who said I could go in in front of them. We chatted. It only took 10 minutes and I was off to work, still shaky, but with a promise I could call him whenever I wanted.

What really made me okay that day? A number of things. My doctor willing to listen. My colleagues who know about and understand the struggle I have. But mostly my Twitter friends. Here is a group of people who I can talk to without fear of judgement. I have said this before, I owe my life to my Twitter friends. They listen, they don’t judge, they cry with me and laugh with me.

I am going to stop there. I need to get ready for a date…

Eccles’ Run

I watched a movie a long time ago, “Logan’s Run”. It is still one of my favourites. In the year 2274, young residents enjoy an idyllic, hedonistic lifestyle within the protective confines of a domed city. The general belief is that when each person turns 30, they are reincarnated for another blissful life cycle. The truth though is that noone is ever reincarnated. 
Why do I like this movie? I have these very brief thoughts that I would not mind at all if I just wasn’t here anymore. I feel life life is to long and to difficult. The world of Logan’s Run seems ideal to me. Why do I think like this?

My friends and family know I suffer from quite a deep depression and anxiety and I am on an ongoing medicine/counselling regime to help me “be happy” and not want to kill myself. Well I don’t want to kill myself, but if I lived in a world where the choice to end this life was not my decision I would not be upset.

Over the past 10 years I have had three diagnoses as to what is ailing me; PTSD when my father in law died in my arms after I tried to resuscitate him, a long standing anxiety from my childhood that still haunts me, and a chemical imbalance in my brain. Personally I think all three inflict me. We are battling the chemical imbalance with medication that needs to be approved before I can get a script. The depression, anxiety and PTSD are being handled with counselling.

I have just deleted a paragraph. The paragraph was my thoughts about home life. I am glad I wrote it down, but I promised myself there are some things I would not publish on my blog. Currently only my psychologist and I get to see my private blog posts. One day I may publish them, but not today.

As a quick aside, I would encourage everyone to write stuff down; keep a journal, write a blog be it public,  private or both like mine. Maybe a video blog is more you. Whatever, getting stuff out of your head is a great release (he says with tears rolling down his cheeks).

I.must end this post and get home. In the words of two of my heroes 


A broken man trying to be better,

Eccles

I’m tired, again

A friend sent me a message a couple of days ago. She asked how I was doing. I haven’t responded. I cannot find the energy (I have, however, promised myself that I will send her a message after I finish here). My friend sent another message, not asking anything, just sending kisses and hugs. I smiled but still didn’t respond. I am having trouble talking to people, even friends. There are little spots of brightness however. Those who follow me on twitter will see me have a rush of posts and then I’m quiet again.
eminemI sit here typing with my arms resting ¬†on the table because I cannot lift them; I feel weak in my body. I have not smiled for a few days; my spirit is tired. I am struggling to find words to type; my mind just wants to stop. I feel like I have had enough and could just curl up and sleep forever. Don’t get me wrong, there are no suicidal thoughts, just a wish that things would just stop, end.

eeyoreI’ve been here before, many times, but am finding it hard to shake myself out of this place. I forced myself to go to lunch yesterday with my wife and a very good friend. I came home exhausted and just sat on the lounge and didn’t move for a few hours after that. I feel like Eeyore at the moment, living alone at the bottom of the wood, down, grey. I don’t want anyone around trying to help. I don’t want to eat but can’t stop.

How do I get out of this? I don’t know at the moment. But I will take Dory’s advice and “just keep swimming”.

A tired man,

Eccles

I will now send my friend a message, I promise.

Out on my own

I’m out on my own this Sunday afternoon. The family is home; they are not well. So I am out doing the shopping. But of course I have stopped by the coffee shop for a few minutes of calmness. I look around to see what is happening in this tiny corner of the world.

There is a single man at the table in front. It was presumptuous of me to assume he is single, I based that solely on the fact he has no wedding ring on. What is he doing here by himself.  Is he like me looking for a bit of calm from his life? His interactions with his phone tell me he is on social media. He is readily g posts and every now and then types a comment or reply.

A family is at the other end of the marquee. Dad reads a newspaper while mum and daughter are busy typing on their phones.

A couple just a little bit older than me are sitting side by side, talking, smiling, holding hands while drinking coffee.

A very young couple, late teens, are in the corner. They are nervous while they chat. Is this a first date? Will this blossom into romance and a long relationship? Maybe they will be back here in later years holding hands, smiling and talking.

The baristas are behind the coffee machine. They finally have a break from coffee making. They stand and talk. I wonder what they talk about. It has been a.long week for them. I have seen them here the last seven days. But their break is quickly interrupted as more coffee needs to be artfully created.

My coffee is finished. Should I go back to the other world where I am a husband and a dad? Yes, yes I will.

My favourite book

My favourite book of all time (so far) is The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. I have had the book since 1970, I was 7 at the time. My favourite character from the book changes depending on how I am feeling. I find that I am like many of the characters and all of them.

WinnieSometimes I am Pooh; muddleheaded, philosopher, naive, a great capacity to accept others regardless of their failings, and knows he has some very great friends who love him and support him.

“For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.”

“Oh bear!” said Christopher Robin. “How I do love you!””So do I,” said Pooh.

“Tigger is all right, really,” said Pooh lazily.
“Of course he is,” said Christopher Robin.
“Everybody is really,” said Pooh. “That’s what I think,” said Pooh. “But I don’t suppose I’m right,” he said.
“Of course you are,” said Christopher Robin.

PigletSometimes I am Piglet; small, scared, afraid of a lot of the world and yet also knows he has great friends, one in particular.

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

“What?” said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn’t been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.

“I think,” said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, “I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan’t be able to do tomorrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now.”

eeyoreSometimes I am Eeyore; depressed with everything, down, can’t see anything good, doesn’t want to participate and is sometimes surprised when others want to help him.

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

I thought,” said Piglet earnestly, “that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore’s back, and if I stood on Pooh’s shoulders -”
“And if Eeyore’s back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh. Ha Ha! Amusing in a quiet way,” said Eeyore, “but not really helpful.”

It’s your fault, Eeyore. You’ve never been to see any of us. You just stay here in this one corner of the Forest waiting for the others to come to you. Why don’t you go to THEM sometimes?

A complex man,

Eccles

WinniePigletEeyore

Sometimes there is no warning

No WarningTrigger warning: this post contains text from a twitter post that was a trigger point for me. Please be careful if you reading this.

My blog, my views, my thoughts, my ramblings, nobody else’s.¬†I may upset some readers with my posts, and that’s okay because we are all entitled to our own opinions. However, nobody is entitled to force their opinion onto¬† anybody else. Nobody is entitled to hurt others by using assumptions about that person. I saw this happening today on social media. It’s not the first time this has¬†happened. It won’t be the last time. So, why am I writing about this now?

First I ask you to consider the following. Sometimes my posts are long so please make sure you read the whole post, in context, before making any assumptions (there’s that word again) or making any comments.

Social media, in this case Twitter, can be dark, ugly, deadly and in my case triggering. Social media can also be bright, beautiful, life uplifting and also in my case a place to find healing. I am always amazed that I can find healing in the place that cam bring me down.

I say social media in the paragraph above but it isn’t social media that has these characteristics. It can’t be. Social media is just a platform for people to use. And use it they do. For some reason people feel a need to attack others and bring them down.

I was following a thread today where a male twitter user felt it was his duty to attack a female sex worker and her chosen career online. And even though he said he didn’t use assumptions in his arguments he proceeded to make all sorts of assumptions about the lady that he could not know to be fact or otherwise.

Then came the two¬†posts that had a profound triggering affect on me. He said¬†that maybe the lady had a mental illnes and that was what was causing a number of her problems. Three posts later, and I quote, “Try not to cut to deep later when shaking off the rage you’re in.”

Sometimes there is no warning…

Yes I have a mental illness that I battle with every day. Yes I have had a problem with self harming. I thought I was coping with my past (and present) illnes. But bam, those posts just broadsided me. I had to stop reading and unfortunately I misread a post from another person that at the time of reading seemed to be agreeing with the original poster. I posted a reply. I am lucky that the person I replied to was level headed and reasonable and we sorted my misunderstanding out quickly; if you are willing it is possible and easy to have congenial and rigourous discussions without having to resort to insults.

I had thoughts all afternoon for the lady who was being assaulted by this man. I do not know how she reacted to the abuse, I hope she is okay. It is not acceptable for this to happen to anyone. I did report this person, as did others, to Twitter for this targetted abuse. It seems trivial but I can only hope that he may realise what he was doing and learn to be a better person.

What happened to me? I was disgusted and offended at the trivialisation of mental illness and self harming. These are things that destroy many lives every day, and all to often can lead to the end of life. This sent me into an episode I am lucky that I have many friends on twitter who actually care about other people. All it took for me was to post that I was not doing well and I had four friends who were online at the time checking on me, one who was willing to have a lengthy chat.

It has taken me a long time to be comfortable accepting help or asking for help. I encourage others who battle as I do to reach out to your friends. They care and they do not mind and they do not judge.

Today I found both darkness and healing using twitter.

A broken man,

Eccles

BeKind