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.

A man on a journey


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.

A man who struggles each day

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.

A man who is feeling good

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

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…

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.

A day off

So what’s happening today. Well this month I have Thursday off work. I am currently sitting at the side walk cafe with a coffee checking the twitter feed and trying not to think about the trip to Melbourne. Oh, I’m also blogging. And I have an hour and a half before I meet a friend here for a “catch up”.

I’m sort of not looking forward to catching up with John. Don’t get me wrong, John is a really good friend and he is one of three close friends who knew about my illness before I made it public. I haven’t seen John for many months and being the person I am I started to wonder why he wants to catch up. My psychologist calls this “fortune telling”. I don’t know why John wants to catch up so I am making up all sorts of different scenarios about how the catch up is going to go.

You may have read in my previous blog posts that I have been a Christian for over thirty years and that I have given up the faith this year. It’s a decision I am happy with. It’s a decision I am happy to write about. But I am not ready to talk about this decision with my Christian friends. It is with a bit of fear that I look forward to meeting with John. The fear being that the conversation may move towards my decision to leave the faith. Oh well, go through my exercises; Is there anything to suggest that the catch up will be anything other two friends meeting for coffee? No. So stop thinking the worst.

I just want my Christian friends to accept who I am and the decisions I have made. I don’t want them to try and save me again. I can’t stop them praying for me but please don’t

I am having a coffee with another friend this afternoon. I am looking forward to this catch up. Why? I can’t think of any reason why the conversation wouldn’t be pleasant and non threatening. Is this friend a Christian? No. Do they accept who I am? Yes. Do they judge me? No. This is a friend from my secret twitter life. We will have a coffee, talk about life, talk about websites and try and solve some problems. It will be good time.

I should finish this off before John arrives. Hope everyone has a good day.

A man not at work today,


Hi friends

I am back in a different guise. This is not my first blog, but this is now my only blog. If you want to know why I have changed please read the Why? page.

Be prepared when reading my posts. I am not a professional writer and will sometimes just do brain dumps because that is what is easiest at the time. Other times, in fact most of the times, they will be very personal; please respect this and I will respect you back. Because of the personal nature of the posts there will be things revealed about me that some of my friends do not know. If will apologise now if some things disappoint you but this is me, warts and all.

Because of the nature of some of my posts I will be moderating any comments. I do not need or want any nasty stuff going on here.

As you get to know me and my opinions I am happy for you to ask me questions or even ask if you would like me to blog about a particular topic. Some people knit to relax, some cook, some read, I write.

So that’s my first post, short and sweet. Just wanted to say hi. I hope you guys may find some useful posts here.

In this guise I am calling myself Eccles.