A new journey

I woke early this morning, excited and keen to get going. Quickly out of bed and into the shower then downstairs for breakfast and meditation. Today I am doing something I have not done in some time; I’m doing a short train journey.

The sun is coming up and peering through a slight haze, the countryside a mixture of green and brown. The gentle rocking and swaying of the train is quite relaxing. My mind wanders back to the days of my youth.

I have spent many hours travelling to and from school on trains in my teenage years. The five hours between my home town and the city are some of the most pleasant times of my life; just the right number of people and still the room to be able to escape to my own space. My memory tells me the trains were long and sleek. The trains, the Souther Aroura and the Spirit of Progress, I remember were elegant and comfortable. Being able to go to the dining car and sit and have dinner or tea was a delight. It was here that I learnt the art of people watching, something I still enjoy to this day.

Today the train is about half full, I expect the train will be full by the time we get to Sydney. The young lad sitting next to me has discovered that the internet connection in some parts of rural Australia will not allow him to play games on his largish gaming laptop. So he has opened up some documents and is typing up some things to tell his players. He is a coach for a roller derby team. Maybe he isn’t as young as he looks.

Across the aisle is an older couple. Well older than me; I would guess in their early 70s. He has just nodded off to sleep after battling with some sudoku puzzles. He does the difficult level without using pencil marks #SudokuGoals. I still need pencil marks. She has opened a great tome and has been reading quietly. I cannot see what the title of the book is but there loos to be about 800-900 pages.

There is a young man diagonally opposite. He is catching up on work. The laptop is out with many spreadsheets open. His briefcase is open on the spare seat next to him.

I have always found train travel to be far more comfortable than bus or plane travel and wonder why I don’t do this more often. During most of my adult life I have been in a rush to get places. My goal this year is to slow down and enjoy being me more. It may take 4 and a bit hours on the train today instead of the 50 minutes if I caught the plane but I think/hope I will get time to reflect and just enjoy this time of quiet.

My original plans for when I am in Sydney was to immerse myself into the throngs to find some alone time. This sounds crazy but being in a crowd of strangers can be quite energizing. It can, like it has been for me, quite daunting and exhausting. But as part of dealing with my high social anxiety is to train myself to be around crowds of people. There are two places I do that, Melbourne and Sydney. I haven’t been to Sydney on my own for a long while so here I am on my way to a city I used to live in.

Time to sit back and enjoy the journey.

Barliman/Eccles
A man on a journey

Friday

I’m sitting here in a cafe having run away from from work. I am sitting in the back corner able to see all that is going on, but hoping no-one notices me. At work I gathered all my belongings, locked my drawers and almost ran out of the building. My colleague who sits next to me asked where I was going. I lied; I haven’t lied about my mental health for a very long time. He expects me back this afternoon. I probably will not make it back to work today.

What happened? Why did I run away? My thoughts wander through the other times I have run away throughout my life; so many times. The first I remember is in Year 12 at school back in 1980. I was at a boarding school on Sydney’s north shore. I snuck out one evening, forged the house master’s signature so I could get a free train ticket and then went to Central and boarded a train that would take me home to Cootamundra. I didn’t make it home.

I should not think about my school days, they were dark days and I believe they have shaped my mental health for the rest of my life. Yes I suffered from bad social anxiety before I went to boarding school, but when I came out I was a mess.

So why run away from work today? I have been doing so well. I have even tweeted about how resilient I have been under extreme pressure at work. I feel like I am accomplishing things, good things, that will help people in the long term. What happened? I said farewell to one of my line manager’s. He is leaving today to take on new, exciting challenges in a different government department. I didn’t think this would affect me.

Support networks are important. I think I have taken mine for granted over the last 24 months. I have different networks. I have a brilliant network on Twitter and I know someone will DM me after they see this post on Twitter. To you, I am okay; I need some me time today; I do not need the work pressure today; I should be back to “normal” this evening. But another support network I have is at work. his consists of three people who I consider to be close friends. Why haven’t I gone to speak with them? The first left in June 2018, the second in October 2018 and the third is leaving today. My brain hasn’t been picking up on the fact that my support network is disappearing.

Maybe that is the reason, maybe not. Whatever…my mind and, as a consequence, body are not coping today. So I think I will have a mental health day.

Mental health is a daily struggle. Keep strong my friends and please remember your support networks. I took mine for granted.

Barliman/Eccles
A man who struggles each day

Jia

Jia wanders into your life as a mysterious lover. You see her pictures, read her bio and think you know about her, and yet you know nothing. When you meet her she will seduce you and, without you knowing, bring out in you something you have hidden deep down. I cannot tell you when I first met Jia. It seems she has always been there, hidden in the back of my mind waiting to come to the surface and show me what passions are in me and lead me on a journey of exploration and discovery.

I have been blessed to have seen Jia a number of times and each time is as exciting as the first time. I get excitedly nervous and before this most recent tryst found myself trembling slightly with anticipation. We met at my hotel in Melbourne and talked over cheese, pate and prosecco. We talked small talk, about life and also deep, meaningful, personal topics. I always feel quite at ease when talking with Jia knowing that anything we talk about will go no further.

Before long we were touching, kissing and moving towards the bed. As we undressed Jia’s corset revealed itself, with little else. My heart skipped a beat as I realised that Jia has remembered how much I adore corsets. As evening lengthens into night we explore and discover more about each other; always feeling, always touching, always caring, always talking. Jia has taught me many things about myself and many things about loving a woman. I always cherish these times together. I hope to be able to see Jia many more times.

Saturday 18 August 2018

Wow what a day this has been. So many things have happened today I could do many blog posts. All of these things have been good for me, and I hope for the people I have interacted with today. I will cover just a few here in this post.

A warning, I am about to talk about what was a dark episode in my life. If you are, like me, triggered by certain things you may not want to read the next paragraph.

I revealed on Twitter again that I am a suicide attempt survivor. This prompted a friend to ask how I managed to get to the point where I attempted to take my life. I was happy to explain the circumstances up to a point. There are only three people who know the final reason why I attempted suicide, and none of these people are in my immediate family. That may surprise some people. Why wouldn’t I share it with my immediate family? My family, friends, colleagues all know about my mental illnesses and how I struggle each day and how I cope. I have some very close friends on Twitter and off. Several times over the years I have learnt to call on these wonderful people on my bad days. Anyway, that is getting way from what I was going to talk about.

I am having a holiday to Melbourne in October. Today I finally got up the nerve to call a beautiful lady in Melbourne to arrange a tryst while I am there. I have met this lady a few times before but this time I had a special request and I was very nervous about broaching this with her. I am not going to go into details about the request, it is a bit personal and I am not ready to be public about it. Of course I shouldn’t have been worried. This gorgeous lady made my day by totally understanding my request and hesitations. Needless to say I am very much looking forward to visiting Melbourne.

What else happened today. Had the best conversation with my mum today. Yesterday I noticed a missed call from my dad. By the time I remembered to call back it was too late at night. So I called today and mum answered the phone. It turns out that yesterday it was my mum calling but she was actually trying to call my sister, lol. My mum suffers from dementia but we have the best conversations.As we talk and I ask questions mum always relays my question to dad who then gives her the answer to give back to me. Mum knows she has dementia and has also fully come to terms with the fact that she cannot remember a lot of things. We laugh about it and have great chats.

Next…Went clothes shopping with my son (22). He is starting to venture out and decided to go on a trip to Melbourne and we decided to update his wardrobe. A lot of fun clothes shopping for a man. During my life I have spent many years living with my sisters and so I have become quite proficient clothes shopping for women. So clothes shopping for an adult man, other than myself, was different for me. Good times.

Finally for this post…I found my voice on Twitter again. I have been a bit quiet on Twitter for a while. Today however I started interacting with lots of people again. Had some great conversations, both public and private. Tweeted my first poll tweets (and yes I am crushing about someone on Twitter at the moment). I have been able to take control of my timeline without worrying about what others may feel. Yes I understand that there may be consequences I have to deal with and I will do that if the need arises.

Eccles/Barliman
A man who is feeling good

Sorry for any spelling or grammar errors, I’ve had a few whiskeys

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 😊😊 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