Category Archives: life

Taking a break from Twitter, a Ramble update

Recently, and as a result of the studies showing that Twitter is chemically addictive, and bad for mood, I decided to take a break from Twitter, especially. This was intended to mean I didn’t hear in great detail any more of the tribulations going on in the US at the time, over the invasion of the Capitol, which was on my Twitter feed in great detail.

I *intended* to only be off during January, but have ended up being off for longer. I still regularly find myself opening my Twitter app, looking at the red number of unread tweets incrementing (over 1,400 last time I checked), and then closing it immediately.

I’ve also massively cut down on my news reading — previously, I was spending 1-2 hours a day reading news via The Guardian app. I’ve had an addiction to reading the news since I was a teenager, so cutting myself off has been odd. Still scanned the headlines now and then — need to know what’s happening with lockdown, but otherwise I’ve mostly disconnected.

Did end up reading a fairly horrific news article on BBC News, some reports coming out of Xinjiang in China. I ended up writing a letter to my MP, the Conservative Steve Barclay, asking what the government was doing in response to it. I’m hoping the response is more than just waffle, but at least I’ve done something, even if it’s very minimal.

My mental health has been fairly dreadful. Still hopeful that my twitter break is helpful, but it’s hard. I tried to only read the tweets of people that a) I found very useful/interesting, or b) who talked to me at least periodically on twitter. It’s been odd not talking to people on twitter, but the past few years I’ve mostly been Re-Tweeting things I agree with, rather than interacting. Might be time to call it over.

Currently, trying to resume work via a phased return. So far so difficult. Still, really struggling to control focus on work, to be able to concentrate on a task steadily over a period.

I think this is enough of a rambly blog for now. Will try to get some more interesting articles/analysis posted, as mental health allows.

Mood drop

I use moodscope to monitor my mental state, and my daily score is sent to Patsi and my Psychologist. He emailed me to ask what was causing drop in mood today. This is what I replied.

Had a migraine, exhausted, couldn’t work. Guilty I couldn’t work, plus ashamed I called off work, and a little worried taken too much time off work, and feeling dumb and stupid, wanting to curl into a ball.


I hate being ill.

Recipes

In a fit of desperation, I tweeted asking for *simple*, *easy*, cheap recipes. This is what I got in return. I’m totally posting this so it’s really easy to print them.

And season to taste 😉 Salt & pepper of course, but you can add any herbs you like to it as well.
I must admit, I don’t know what Orzo is..
sunset photo, taken 20th april 2007 in Wales, UK.

Depression & Suicide

I wrote this as a response to an image post trying to guilt-trip people into not commiting suicide using friends and family, on reddit. The reddit OP removed his post due to criticism, so I’ve copied it here.

Here’s the thing most people don’t get about suicide.

Those who choose to kill themselves aren’t (normally) irrational. They’re making a considered option. They’re aware of the pain they’ll leave. They’re aware of the pain of the method.

Someone who chooses to commit suicide is exactly the same response as the person who chooses to jump to death from a burning building. It’s not that the suicide is a good option. It’s that staying is unbearable.

Severe depression, or severe recurrent depression the type I suffer from, is a cruel, evil disease. It eats at your joy of life, it eats at your ability to look after yourself, it eats at your ability to function day-to-day, even simple things like cooking a meal being more akin to climbing mount Everest in a wheelchair, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind your back, than anything else.

You want to help someone like me not decide in the darkest, most painful times not to die?

First, don’t try to guilt-trip them with friends and family. It won’t help, I already know all those things. I’ve already considered them. I’ve discounted them. Sometimes the suffering is just too great.

Second, be there. That friend who you’ve not heard from for a while? Phone. Suggest popping over for a cuppa tea. Suggest they come to you. Push a little. Text. Email. IM. Skype. Reach out.

Third, if you know someone is suffering, offer to listen, anytime, anywhere, anyhow, and mean it. Keep your phone on next to you, and pick it up at 3am if they call.

Forth, if someone is really bad, struggling day to day, offer real help. Not “I’m here for you” but “hey, I’m coming over Friday, we’ll watch a film and order pizza”. Or “Hey, I’m bringing over my pasta bake, and leaving it with you, I’ll pick up the dish tomorrow.”. “Hey, need any help with housework? I’m free Saturday to come help if you want?”

Finally, Accept that, even then, sometimes someone like me will be suffering too much, and it’s not about you. It’s not about your pain, that they were suffering too much, and decided enough was enough. They’re in less pain than they were before.

P.S. Vote. Vote for people who give a shit about mental health support (in the UK, NOT THE CONSERVATIVES FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD). Vote for those who care about basic medical support. Consider donating to research.

p.p.s edit; please don’t say anything along the lines of ‘why don’t you just decide to be happy?’. That doesn’t help.

But seriously, be there for your friends and family, especially if they’re being weirdly distant. You may just save a life.

Office music

isolation with headphones

or Togetherness by synchronised streaming?

​

Apps used: 

  • Logitech media server (aka squeezebox) – running on a  Raspberry Pi
  • Squeezer (Android) for remote control, queuing tracks, playlist management and synchronising the players
  • SB player (Android) to play the 

    Ps, it’s way past my bedtime! Insomnia is a pain. Goodnight all. 

    Childhood home

    My mother is selling the house I grew up in 🙁

    A few years ago, my father left the flat I spent a lot of my teens in.

    It’s interesting, even though I moved out from home more than 10 years ago, I still feel a connection to both places. The flat’s probably knocked down by now, and doesn’t even exist, and I’ve spent so little back at mums recently I’m surprised by changes every time I visit.

    I don’t know what’s making me so nostalgic for my youth, looking back into my past? Strange.

    Greebo (cat) looking out into the garden.

    First Night Effect, a ramble from a while ago

    A very small study was recently released, and covered prominently, which says chiefly;

    “Even when you look at young and healthy people without chronic sleep problems, 99 percent of the time they show this first-night effect [sleeping in a new place] —this weird half-awake, half-asleep state,” says Yuka Sasaki from Brown University.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/why-we-sleep-badly-on-our-first-night-in-a-new-place/479091/

    Interestingly, I think I’ve experienced this personally. I’ve bounced around a bit, moved, but my primary example was actually a night on which it was not my first sleeping somewhere.

    I’ve had a few house/flatmates over the years, as has any young adult in the UK. Sharing is basically required for all but the richest, thanks to our current housing crisis. In this case, it was a flat in West Ealing, London, quite a nice one really. We had a good landlord, who basically advertised two rooms separately, and arranging meetings to create a flatshare.

    This flatshare was sold to me as a young lady,  let’s call her Shakespeare, visited periodically by her boyfriend, who’ll we’ll call Casper.. We got on OK, in the brief time we knew each other, and for the first 6 months of our lease, everything was fine. Well, mostly fine; Casper was around almost always, and he broke my xbox, but eh. So, I signed another lease with Shakespeare; 12 months this time.

    This was a mistake.

    Casper and I argued, about some weird odd thing. I was going to have someone sleep on the floor for a few days, just coming into the country, and needed somewhere to crash whilst they got on their feet. This apparently was beyond the pail. Suffice to say, words were had, shouting happened, and I no-longer felt safe there.

    The first night was the worst. I basically setup noise traps next to my (lockless) bedroom door, and slept fitfully, waking at the tinyest noise. I was scared of being attacked by Casper, he was bigger and stronger than me. The following days were unpleasant in the extreme. I spent as much time as possible outside the flat, eating at a Wimpys, spending massive quantities of time in the Office, basically hiding from my flatmates. In the end, I decided to forfeit the lease, and left, moving back in with my parents. I ended up continuing to pay for my part of the lease for another 3 months, an action that combined with the commuting now involved to get to work cost me along the lines of £3,000.

    But those few days, before I decided to forfeit, were some of the worst nights I’ve ever had. I can totally believe First Night Sleep is a thing. I just think it may well not be just about your First Night somewhere.

    Epilogue,

    It turned out, that Casper shouldn’t have been staying in the flat with Shakespeare. Landlord was unhappy about that. Also, they got a dog, whom I had been told was gained with Landlord’s tactic approval via a don’t ask, don’t tell basis.

    During the explanation to the (nice) landlord, I might have let slip about the dog. The tactic approval turned out to be a lie, amongst other things, Landlord was Not Happy, especially due to Shakespeare and Casper’s actions after I left. I was actually offered the room again, with a new flatmate. I refused.

    That is also why I eventually moved out of London at the first opportunity. I had a limited-length houseshare in London with a friend, but just couldn’t bring myself to share with someone random again. Work needed people in a new site, so I requested a transfer, somewhere where I could afford (just about) my own place. I’ve been happily away from London (apart from hotels and day visits) ever since.

    I wonder if writing this is interesting to anyone? Also, I do wonder how narcissistic it is for me to publish it publicly. Maybe for another blogpost, another day.

    Link

    Interesting article about how people handle resilience in the New Yorker. Curious to see how research filters into the mainstream. Sounds a little like CBT , though, focusing on how a person perceives and handles thoughts.

    Werner also discovered that resilience could change over time. Some resilient children were especially unlucky: they experienced multiple strong stressors at vulnerable points and their resilience evaporated. Resilience, she explained, is like a constant calculation: Which side of the equation weighs more, the resilience or the stressors? The stressors can become so intense that resilience is overwhelmed. Most people, in short, have a breaking point. On the flip side, some people who weren’t resilient when they were little somehow learned the skills of resilience. They were able to overcome adversity later in life and went on to flourish as much as those who’d been resilient the whole way through. This, of course, raises the question of how resilience might be learned.

    http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-secret-formula-for-resilience