Sometimes You Just Know

It’s weird thing the brain – it works on so many levels and seems to be able to do so many things at the same time. In reality it doesn’t, it just switches between things very quickly so it seems like you are multi-tasking – so I am told by the experts. I never cease to be amazed at what it can do though.

So many times I have gone into a situation and known what the outcome would be before I even got started. Friends have told me I have an ability to see the future but I don’t agree with them – I believe I just think things through so much I can determine the most logical outcome and know where things will go. Also, as part of my life’s experiences, I always tend to expect the worst so when it happens I am not surprised – if it doesn’t work out that way then it is a bonus. “Always expect to be disappointed, then you are never disappointed” is what I used to say – yes, it’s a negative way of looking at the world but I would guess it is my way of scoping with events that don’t go how I would like.

Instead of that way of thinking, I now try to be more positive and look at things working out then hopefully the positive vibe not just keeps me upbeat but also helps to facilitate a good outcome – not quite sure how that could possibly work in reality but it seems to be a better way of thinking. It is not an easy task when you have had so many things go wrong in your life and, when other people are involved, nothing seems to go to plan.

I spent many years following my gut feel and found that things generally went as I expected them to go – either positive or negative. I could look at a proposal or an idea and instantly know if it work or not – most of the time I couldn’t explain to others why or how I knew, I just did. I can’t even explain it to myself. Then I started listening to other people and tried to take their thoughts and impressions into consideration. In doing this I found things tended to now go how we expected – things that should have worked didn’t and things that shouldn’t work did – I can’t explain it but with this happening so often I started to doubt my judgement and lost confidence in my ability to make the correct decisions in business and in life. As a result my self opinion started to decline and my self confidence started to waver.

I see self opinion as how you see yourself and self confidence is how you let others see you and how you feel when doing a task. I have always had a high level of self confidence but a low level of self opinion. While others saw me as successful and confident in everything I did, inside me I was just backing my own judgement, confident that things would work out as expected. Over the past ten years I found my own belief in myself deteriorated so much that I could no longer trust myself to make big decisions – so I didn”t and I found myself stressing, getting depressed and distancing myself from people. I was no longer the confident winner I gave the impression I was.

More recently I have started to get out of that spiral, away from the rut and back on the road to confidence and positivity – even when I feel negatively about a possible outcome I am getting back to trusting my judgement and trusting that my expected outcome will occur. Sometimes it’s not a good thing knowing things wont work out as preferred but at least I can once again be confident in my ability to foresee it.

So on I tread, into the great unknown, albeit sometimes expected, and try to maintain a positive and chirpy outlook on life as I move into the twilight years… with my seniors card.

Note: Not actually my seniors card but wish that was my number (apart from the last”4″)
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It Ain’t All Beer And Skittles

One recurring comment keeps arising from my blog posts over the past few months and that is it seems that everything is going positively and there are no negatives in my life anymore. It isn’t true, there are still negatives and a few post have shown some of the times where I start to return to depression. I have always wanted these posts to be honest so you all can see the truth and how you are not alone in your feelings – to hide the downs would be unfair and inaccurate in my recording of the journey.

For example the past few days have not been positive for me – no reason for it, just biorhythms or life’s cycles, or moon phases or something. Two days ago was one of those days when you just think you should have stayed in bed – everytime you do something it seems difficult or doesn’t work out properly… every decision made by others comes back as a negative… I used to have those days when working in the corporate world and knew then not to go for any big deals or force any decisions because the world was negative and any decision would no be good for me.

The good thing about my situation now is I know these days are intermittent, they will pass and things will improve. So I tend to keep my head down an let it flow over me – stop working, read a book, go for a walk, listen to a podcast – just generally don’t do anything that might get damaged by any negative forces. I know if you are working for someone else that this isn’t always possible but if you can find a way not to make big decisions take it.

So here I am, at the dawn of a new day, putting the negativity behind me and feeling that today is going to be positive – I have already had seven or eight spam emails come in so somebody loves me… It appears one of my email addresses has found itself on a list somewhere and it is getting hammered everyday with emails on how to increase my sexual performance (just click here), how my invoice is ready for payment (just click here), my account will be blocked (click here to prevent it) and how a lovely lady in Bumsplatistan wants to marry me. And despite high end spam filters set to the highest setting on my account at the server level, the crap keeps coming. I would just dump the email account but it is my main one – the one I use for all the real bills and business account stuff – getting rid of it would just be a nightmare activity.

I now also get spam emails from the response form below – for some reason “CharlieheDGL CharlieheD”, or some adaption of that name, using hacked email addresses, thinks I might be interested in “Sexy Girls fur die Nacht in deiner Stadt: (web link deleted)”. Just another of those annoyances in life that really don’t help those of us who tend to get depressed or used to get angry.

So anyway – the birds are chirping, kookaburras laughing and the sun is shining. Plenty to be done today but also some time for relaxation and socialising. And looking forward to tomorrow when and old friend is visiting and we are going to go and do something neither of us has done for a long time – we are going snorkelling. Just another of those things I used to like to do and will also give me the chance to get close to nature a little more – just hope it’s not the type of nature that likes to eat people…

So, this is a warning that any rising sea levels tomorrow will have absolutely nothing to do with global warming, it will just be us two fat old guys getting in the ocean off the coast of Australia. But they key thing here, is doing something I enjoy, re-engaging with friends, getting some exercise and doing something different. So get out there guys and do something different…

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New Friends Don’t Know The Old Me

One of the interesting things about changing yourself away from the grumpy old git is presenting yourself to old friends with what basically equates to a different personality. They sit and talk to you and you see there is a touch of oddness about how they look at you as you speak – somewhat quizzical, sometimes confused.

The person they know is different, not quite sure how but just different. Is it good? Is it bad? They really cant put their finger on it to start with. In fact in many cases they just seem to not be able to work it out but they carry on as if things are normal. It usually seems that its not until after they leave and they are able to process the discussion that they realise what the change in me has been.

A number of times I have had old friends message me after a meeting and say that they can see a clear change in how I am and how I behave. I am no longer the negative, grumpy guy with an opinion on everything, I now listen more intently to others and their opinions and I seem more relaxed and at ease with everything. Not quite at the “don’t give a shit” position but really no longer concerned with things that don’t directly affect me or my loved ones.

I also have dropped much of the protection and the facade I used to portray – I am more open and more honest with my opinions and my attitude – also more respectful of others. I care more and enjoy the world for what it is naturally rather than the false stresses and behaviours forced upon us by those who are supposed to be running the place and providing us leadership. Maybe I am becoming an old hippie… Well I do love Billy Connolly.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see new friends and how they react to me. While there have been many considerable changes in my behaviours and attitudes, I still have symptoms of the conditions that are evident – emotional numbness, hyper-vigilance and avoidance all still exist in me but in a reduced capacity. I still find it hard to express emotions at the appropriate time – the military programming still forces me to file emotional reactions away for processing and response at a later time. Although there is a much decreased fear of anger outbursts because I no longer let it build up inside me. I keep busy and tell people when something annoys me now. I still get frustrated with things but no longer seem to get angry.

I still feel most comfortable when I am out and can see exits and any potential danger but I am forcing myself to sit in different positions in restaurants and other places I go, to try to desensitise myself. Although, as I write this while eating breakfast at McDonalds I am in clear view of the door and can see all the comings and goings.

I also now tend to step outside my comfort zone more often – to experience new things, or to just do something different to get me out of any rut I might be falling into – listening to different styles of music (even classical), going to the beach, walking in the scrub, watching TV shows I would never have watched previously and a heap of other stuff as well.

So, while my symptoms have reduced or are being managed to make me a different person, new friends have no idea what the old me was like. When they see me behave in certain ways they don’t like they don’t realise they are seeing the new, revised and lower key me. They have no idea how angry a person I was or how detached I kept myself from friends and family. Sometimes the new friends don’t like the behaviours but other times they do – it’s not something I can control so I don’t get perturbed when they decide to move away from me.

All in all, my new approach to life seems to be working out positively and I am more relaxed and at peace with myself and those close to me. I thank them for their understanding and for sticking by me – onwards and upwards…

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Change FFS

Continuing on from my last post “Art for Art’s Sake” comes this discussion on Change FFS and how I have perceived change during the period since having the PTSD and depressive conditions.

It seems our lives nowadays are made up of change after change after change – I guess nothing stays the same forever but it seems that the whole concept of evolution and development of things has been replaced by a desire for change to be made just for the sake of change or for someone just to leave their mark on something, somewhere.

I don’t know about other people but, despite a life of forcing change onto others I don’t really like change that affects me without there being any real need for that change. And, as iI get older I seem to see so much change happening for change’s sake rather than for any logical reason.

It’s obvious that technology has caused significant change in the world and it was this that gave me my success really. I was an early adopter of technology and seemed to understand much of it. I was one of the first computer systems managers in the Australian Army and ended up managing the entire Army national computer and admin communications network in 1998. Here it was my job to implement change and make sure technology was managed and kept operational.

This was great fun but I never lost focus of the effect this technology would have on the people who use it or were replaced by it – then with any administrative changes, upgrades or introduction of new applications I again considered the users and how they would be affected. Sadly this no longer seems to be the case with technology change.

So every time a new update to an App comes out, I immediately wonder what they are doing to make it more difficult to use. Then I wonder, with Apps like Facebook – why change something that is working perfectly well for most of the world’s population… a bit like Coke changing their formula/taste in 1978 – they had 78% of the cola market but saw Pepsi increase there sales by a fraction so reacted by making the flavour of Coke more like that of Pepsi.

Then you see road rules being changed because something is seen as possibly dangerous – it has worked perfectly well for 100 years but because some idiot thinks something good go wrong, they change it. In Australia for example we have a rule where you cannot cross an unbroken double line in the centre of the road. This is because it is unsafe to do so in that area. Now they have added a rule to say that any motor vehicle passing a cyclist on the road has to leave a gap of at least 1 metre. If there is an unbroken double line your are allowed to cross it to keep clear of the cyclist if it is safe to do so…. the bloody line says it isn’t safe to do so otherwise it wouldn’t be there. So why add confusion to the rules.

I could go on for pages with examples of change made for no apparent reason that just cause stress in many people but that will just rekindle the angry man I used to be. I don’t want him around anymore, he is too stressful. Suffice to say, where you find stress with change, you are not alone – despite us always being told that change is a good thing and we should accept it, that is not always the case and there are many, many people who do not like it.

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

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Art For Art’s Sake

One of the interesting symptoms of the conditions I am experiencing is being annoyed at things that change or affect my small circle of existence for no reason. The gold old 10cc song Art for Art’s Sake waxes lyrical about while society is focussed on making money, there is still a need for some things to be done for the love of them – such as love and art.

I was working through the corporate and entertainment world suffering with my conditions under the surface – while still presenting the happy go lucky face of a confident and secure person – I found myself focussed on the materialistic side of things. I needed to make money, I needed a new car, I needed a new gadget. Goods and chattels were most important because they showed how successful I was and, if I was successful, then I couldn’t have anything wrong with me, could I?

There was little time for enjoyment of the more abstract parts of life – those things that affect emotions rather than the physical parts of life. All that stuff was just a waste of time and energy – so it was ignored. I could never just sit and enjoy a painting, or poetry. Lyrics of songs weren’t important, it was all about the beat. Sitting quietly in nature was a waste of time that could be better spent making money to buy stuff. Even books I read needed to be non-fiction or based around factual events – I wanted to learn from other people’s experiences to help me do what I did better.

Very occasionally could I sit and read a fictional book and let my imagination control the images – I wanted to be told how, where, when, why and whom; not make it up in my head. Which I now see as a strange situation – I was always told that I had a vivid imagination and was a very creative person, which I now understand, but at the time my mind couldn’t comprehend the need to do something just for the sake of doing it; for enjoyment.

I even had one of the people I admired most as a performer, who was always surrounded by creative people, introduce me to an audience at the end of a show as the most creative person she knew. Maybe an off the cuff comment at the time but it opened a door in my mind and made me start to think that maybe I should be doing creative, not physical or financially focussed stuff.

I now understand the gnawing that I always had in my gut – yes I was successful in business, I made a lot of money, I had status, I had a reputation for quality work but I always felt that something was missing in my life, an emptiness deep inside eating away. I now see that it was the real me, the creative, imaginative, curious and emotional me. It was there hidden away underneath the emotional numbness that had been imposed upon me by external forces – military indoctrination along with my perceived need to be professionally successful in my career path.

The need to “keep up with the Jones’s” was there unconsciously while the creative me was being held in side not allowed to escape. Since being diagnosed with my conditions, my life has changed and I now see the beauty in the world and in people. I am no longer dictated to by social norms and the need to be seen as a winner – true, I no longer have a set income and I watch the savings erode daily but I now have a life where I focus on the more abstract things, the emotional parts of life – nature and art, being kind and compassionate – and being creative and emotional.

My life has changed and, as a result, my world has changed – I focus on me, still with a desire to help people and I have a love for the real world, not the artificial bullshit world of “the economy”, government, corporations and financials. I go and sit on a beach and write stage shows, sit in a forest and draw up stage plans, go to the mountains and write poetry or get up at 4:00 in the morning and write a blog post as I see a new day dawn out my office window.

And I am happy……… ish*.

*I know there is still a long way to go on the road to recovery.

When you get down, down to the root 
Don’t give a damn don’t give a hoot 
Still gotta keep makin’ the loot 
Chauffeur driven 
Gotta make her quick as you can 
Give her lovin’ make you a man 
Get her in the palm of your hand 
Bread from Heaven 
Gimme a country 
Where I can be free 
Don’t need the unions 
Strangling me 
Keep me in exile the rest of my days 
Burn me in hell but as long as it pays 
Art for arts sake 
Money for Gods sake 

Eric Stewart / Graham Gouldman
Art for Art’s Sake © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Schubert Music Publishing Inc


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Focus On You

An interesting but not easy to write subject this one. A bit self centred to start with but has a strong message.

I have found that my last ten years (since becoming depressed) has been focussed on other people and making them happy – I now am starting to believe that this is because I was so unhappy in myself. It was pleasing to see others happy because of me and this behaviour took many forms; from telling jokes, to witty quips at important meetings, to being that ‘ratbag’ in the office, to producing theatre shows that toured internationally.

I was that guy who was ‘out there’ a little (or maybe a bit more than little) and refused to succumb to the expectations of the circles in which I mingled. In the Army, I was too rock and roll – in the entertainment industry I was to ‘Army’ – in the corporate world I was too relaxed and unfocussed – in the public service I was too focussed and driven. I guess I was the true rebel without a cause. But as long as I provided some entertainment or happiness to others, it gave me pleasure.

I enjoyed pushing the boundaries, testing the system and always having that little bit of ‘me’ inserted into the system or process. Yes as a sales executive I conformed to the need to wear the right type of clothes – although the business suit (fashionable name brand of course) hardly ever came out of the cupboard – Slacks and bright coloured shirt (usually striped) was my standard attire with a sports jacket that usually was a little quirky and pushed the boundaries. In fact one day at the corporate office they had a Tracy Dann day where everyone in the office wore stripes – and it just happened that on that day I wore a plain shirt. It was hilarious.

The rebellion gave me interest in my life – it was the corporate world and was highly stressful, I saw it as my role to try to lighten the atmosphere and provide a little bit of interest in what was otherwise a mundane existence that required us to make a lot of money for a large corporation – sometimes at the price of personal anguish. People never knew what to expect – What will he wear today? What will he say today? What is he going to do to make us laugh? How does he get away with it? Yes it was fun and kept me sane – well not really, it was my bit on insanity that I would inflict on others in an effort to release some of the pressure from the turmoil going on in my head.

People only got to see the facade – they never saw the crap that was going on in my head. Sometimes it would surface as this angry guy in the corner – the guy with little patience, was pissed off with the world, hated disorganisation, was a stickler for being on time, couldn’t understand why people couldn’t follow his logic and wondered why people got stressed about small and insignificant things.

Eventually though, the inner turmoil surfaced and while standing at my desk working. One morning I had a dull ache in my left shoulder – much like that when you sleep with your arm in an awkward position. I rubbed it and moved my arm around but the ache stayed and started to spread to my chest. A tight feeling, like a pulled muscle. It started to worry me that I must have picked something up wrongly and hurt myself at some stage that morning. Then the left side of my jaw started to go numb – now I thought there was something serious going on so I said to my work colleagues that I was going out for awhile. I jumped in my car and started to drive to the hospital to be checked out – as I pulled out of the car park, an ambulance drove by so I followed it to the emergency service headquarters around the corner.

As the ambulance pulled over I came alongside and asked the driver if there were any paramedics around as I was having some odd pains in my chest… before I knew it there were paramedics, ambulances and all sorts of things going on and I found myself in the cardiac ward of the local hospital attached to all sorts of devices being treated for a heart attack – a mild one but this was an eye opener.

But even here I was stilled focused on others – not ringing to tell family or friends what had happened until I was sure that I was going to be alright – I didn’t need those close to me to worry about what might or might not happen. It appears this was not the right thing to do.

This was the start of opening my eyes to worry more about myself than others. Suddenly I was mortal, I realised I could die at any time. At the time of the incident I was eating healthily, had given up sugar, low salt intake, low fat food, lots of fruit and vegetables, a bit of exercise (including standing at my desk rather than sitting), no alcohol, no smoking, no family history of heart disease – there was no medical reason for it just an artery in the heart got blocked.

So anyway – what is the point of this??? The point is that it doesn’t matter what you do in life to be healthy, one day your body is going to decide it is time to go and something will fail. It is, therefore, important to do what you need to do in life, enjoy yourself, find a way to do the things you like to do and, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do whatever you bloody well want to. There is no time for sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, nor being anxious about what might or might not happen. If it doesn’t affect you or the ones you care for then it isn’t important – get off your backside and get out and enjoy the beauty of the world, see the concerts or movies you like, sit on a beach for a day, start to write a book or paint, write poetry, appreciate nature and all it has to offer – just get up and away from the routine that you let rule your life… even if it just walking outside to the garden, or the local park/common and looking at the trees, the texture of the trunk, the leaves, any animals or birds living there.

The world is a beautiful place when you remove all the crap imposed upon us -specifically by the media – get out and enjoy it in whatever way you can.

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Fallback

Well it is all nice and lovely when things are going well but sometimes the forward progression and sense of stability stops and you find yourself falling backward. You know things aren’t too flash because you ache again, can’t sleep and start to feel angry with yourself, friends and the world.

The only difference now is that there is no evidence of spiralling down into the pit of despair… it is just a drop into a state of shitty moodedness (a word I made up) where you sit for awhile and hope to come out of it as the day progresses. But once again the shutters come down and barriers go up as you position yourself for a period of being pissed off with everything.

It is time to be away from people you don’t want to hurt; time to be alone and doing something you love to do – if I could only work out what that is today…

It’s also time to close down Facebook and other social media and stop looking at idiot posts that you know are going to rile you further. Maybe an hour out in the sun – oh wait, nope, it’s cloudy today. Maybe a bit of creative work on show design – nah, I’m not very creative in this state of mind. The only option is to return to the comfy arm chair where I spent all those weeks when I was badly depressed – no,that is probably not the thing to do…

Maybe a trip to the garden centre to buy some living things that I can give a better life to in my garden; as much as a tree or shrub can have a better life. That will also involve some physical activity to dig holes and plant things – yes that seems like a good idea. More expense of course and with no real income anymore it will need to be a frugal purchase but I think I have a few gift vouchers somewhere on the fridge.

So only a short post this time but even this was a struggle in the state of mind I am in – I just thought it important to show that it is not all positivity on the road to recovery – some days just don’t shape up the way you want them to…

Anyway, here’s a cat post for you…

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Awake Again – Naturally

Here I am again – at the “typewriter” jotting down some words in order to stop the brain from going off doing its own thing. I awoke just after three this morning and did that nature thing that old people need to do in the middle of the night – then had a drink to replenish the fluids. As I was still so tired after the last week with little sleep I thought I would ‘tough it out’ and go back to sleep after a little thinking.

Alas, it wasn’t to be… an hour later I was still lying there with so much going through my head. The mind was racing again and, despite the tiredness, it was time to get up and write again – I can go to sleep later if need be.

So what has been on my mind this early morning? Many, many things it seems, I shall try to organise them into an understandable structure. This will be a little different than previous posts as these will be my inner thoughts not experiences.

Personal Help For Others
Over the past week or so, some of you guys have been contacting me directly for advice on how I handle particular things regarding the conditions I have. I find this most flattering that people actually want my advice and I am happy to respond and build that link between us – but it is important to remember that I am not a trained mental health professional. I have done a few courses recently and I did major in educational psychology at university many years ago but I am far from being an expert. I am just a guy who is living an experience and sharing it with you in an attempt to purge my brain but also let you know you are not alone in the world with your thoughts and suffering. I also hope you can look at what I have done to help myself and maybe use some of that to help yourself.

Commercial Versus Charity
The age old question of money or love – while artists can suffer for their art, should condition carriers suffer for their suffering? I love helping people, I love educating people, I love entertaining people and I have done this the majority of my life – Yes, I have digressed a few times into information technology or corporate sales but even these were disguised attempts to help people by either restructuring how technical support is provided or allowing them to buy a way to improve how they do business.

However, the majority of my helping, educating and entertaining exercises do not make me money so I need to approach life in a more commercial manner while still being helpful – I need to provide the help and ‘voice’ my experiences but we all need money to survive and, at the moment, I am not earning anything – even the live shows are costing me money to do.

So many options arise to capitalise on this venture but i fear alienating the very people i want to help by doing so. I understand that by doing the occasional free show for schools or other cash strapped agencies is important, I have to start to toughen up and not fall into the trap of, “Oh by doing my free show it will give you good exposure” . The fact is, it generally wont – exposure and awareness comes from the mass media.

Desire to Entertain while Educating
There are so many people out there talking about all sorts of stuff who are as boring as batshit. They have interesting stories and experiences to share, or they have a lot of technical information to explain and they are experts in their fields – but they are boring on how they deliver the content. Powerpoint slide after Powerpoint slide, fact after fact, droning on and on – and they get paid good money for doing it.

I need to be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming a droner, the shows need to be kept upbeat, honest and entertaining. Telling the true story, warts and all. I feel there is an opportunity for three different types of show, with varying levels of entertainment factor. I shall work on these over the coming weeks.

Restructure the Talks
I believe that information distribution needs to be entertaining as well as informative – people will remain attentive up to the limits of their attention span then their minds will drift away. So many presentations I have been to by professional conference organisers just don’t seem to understand the basics of human attention span – in order to make sure my talks don’t fall into the same trap I need to restructure them to be tighter and shorter. The first two shows have been a touch too long in both parts. And, incidentally, that is why there is a break in the show – to allow a reset of attention span.

Ruby Wax
The comedian Ruby Wax has been brought to my attention. She has been doing live shows around mental health for a few years now – I caught some of her stuff yesterday on Youtube and was surprised how similar her stories are to mine. But of course, my stories are also similar to yours because the conditions we have affect us all in much the same way. But it was nice to see the confirmation that I am not just making all this stuff up.

If anyone has any connection with Ms Wax, I would love to get to chat to her about what we do.

Getting the Word Out
While it has been a lovely Christmas period for me – busy, then restful, then busy again – the shut down of most businesses for nearly a month has really stalled the momentum of getting the word out about the Captain Krankypants talks. With that stall in momentum comes a fall in enthusiasm – that’s another symptom of one of my conditions. If I can’t see progress and improvement then things are failing. So I need to ask you all to please share these blogs with anyone you think might benefit from them – spread the word, spread the love and spread the desire to help.

Time for a Cuppa
Well that was some of the thoughts from the “Middle of the night thinking session” but just remember, if it all starts to get you down, the pressure is building and the thoughts are racing, get up and move to a different room, or location and take the time to have a cup of tea or coffee and recover your mind. And that is just what I am going to do now…

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Rage Against Moronity

A number of times in the past few weeks I have experienced events of such stupidity they have got me to a state where, in the past, I would have got extremely angry and voiced my opinion loudly without any consideration of the consequences. This never bothered me before because it was my way of blowing off some steam having spent so much energy during the day hiding the turmoil going on in my head and showing the world a happy and confident facade.

The anger outbursts were like the valve on a pressure cooker – the feelings inside would continue to build and build and if they weren’t released, well, who knows what might have happened. I have noticed more recently that this ‘pressure release’ is a common event amongst military trained people. While it is never discussed, it just becomes an event that everyone accepts as a normal way of life – “Hey, Davo just cracked the shits but he’ll be okay in a bit” would be a common expression – then everyone would just go on with their work.

Military guys, have the outburst – everyone sees it, ‘Davo’ releases the valve, everyone knows there is nothing personal in it, or if there is then you work it out together in a gentlemanly manner that, in some cases, may have involved an exchange of punches. But… once finished, it is over and done with and things get back to normal – no hard feelings and no grudges.

I have realised, since being diagnosed with my conditions that ‘normal’ people don’t do this and mostly don’t know how to handle situations where people do it. So when a person has an emotional outburst to release the pressure, ‘normal’ people see it as a personal attack and get upset by it. They feel as if the person is angry with them and with what they have done rather than this being the final bit of heat adding to the inner pressure causing the release valve to trigger.

So, what do we do about it? I have two ways of handing these situations now – and they have been tested to their limits over the past month or so…

Run Away!!!! (Probably more professionally know as Avoidance.) When I feel myself getting frustrated at behaviours or attitudes of other I know it will eventually result in an outburst that will upset those around me and possibly cause damage to any ongoing relationship. The best thing I can now do in these situations is to move away from the cause of the frustration and allow the event to go on without me nearby – I accept that people will do or say what they think is best and me getting angry about it wont change their mind. So I get away from it, get alone, out of sight out of mind, calm down and maybe do something I prefer to do while the situations dissolves.

Batten Down The Hatches!!!! (Probably more professionally known as Withdrawal). In some cases it is not possible to get away and avoid the catalyst so you have to get away internally. By this I mean to close down your emotions, try to ignore the stupidity going on around you and just ride the flow through until it is over. The situation that has allowed me to develop this approach is going through airport security. So many times they seem to do things without reason, or they do it differently, or something is picked up that has been okay in the past – many things vary. So much so that you get frustrated with the lack of consistency and perceived stupidity. However, you know that by just saying one word you could find yourself out the back with a large fellow and a rubber glove… so I just shut down and am like cattle to the slaughter – nothing you can do about it so just let it flow and get out at the other end.

So when I am with people and there is a situation occurring where I find myself getting angry or annoyed, I no longer disagree or voice my contrary opinion, I just shut up and stop participating in the discussion. I know by continuing on I will just get angrier and angrier until I explode and that will cause damage to friendships with others who are in the vicinity and friends of myself and the other person/people in the discussion. Don’t get me wrong though, I am happy for people to have contrary opinions to mine and I am happy to debate and discuss those opinions but they need to be supported by valid facts or logic – in some cases I will even accept that my opinion could be wrong if proof is provided.

The sad thing with both of these techniques though is that you risk being seen as sulking because you don’t get your own way but, in fact, this is just the opposite. You know what your limits are and you know what the outcome will be by continuing so you are taking a positive step to avoid hurting those around you and damaging friendships that you hold so dearly. Better to damage how you are perceived rather than those around you.

Another problematic situation is when you are told by your counsellors that it is time you stopped worrying about others and started worrying about yourself – doing what you want to do and enjoying your life rather than helping others to enjoy theirs. When you have spent a lifetime focussing on others this is a very, very difficult thing to do and, sadly, when you do it you tend to upset other people or be seen as hard and uncaring – but this can be the subject of a future post…

Nicked from www.slideshare.net.
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Long Distance Driving Therapy

Well it wont be for everyone I can tell you that immediately but this morning I had one of those awesome moments – you know the ones… when you don’t feel depressed, you don’t worry what is going on around you and you feel in control of your immediate destiny.

At 06:00 I left my hotel room on the far south coast of New South Wales (Australia) and drove off into a constant misty rain, heading south into Victoria. Immediately on leaving the town where I stayed the road was forest on both sides, still with the misty rain. The radio station I had been listening to dropped out of range so I turned on my iTunes Favourites playlist and left the cruise control off – I felt like driving a car again, not just aiming it. Also that early on a Saturday there was no other traffic on the road and I was at peace.

For overseas readers, in Australia towns in the country are so far apart that if you leave at a certain time you, generally, wont come across any traffic coming from the other direction until at the soonest half way to the next town (in this morning’s case over 100 km away) – Australian drivers tend to avoid driving in bush or forested areas during darkness due to kamikaze kangaroos and wombats. Also any cars going in the same direction as you are all on the speed limit in front or behind you – so driving is peaceful and able to be enjoyed.

And so the experience began, thoughts came and went as I negotiated the straighter parts of the road; concentration was needed on the winding bends and hills but thoughts returned on the straights. But not random thoughts – thoughts of events over the past ten years and even before… it was as if they were putting their hands up and saying, “Give me some attention and I will go away”. Each was processed and then filed away. Then possible futures came up for consideration: talking shows, music shows, books, media interviews, what team do I need to support the #krankyontour, how many shows in Australia, how many in the UK, what about Canada, the US????

And then a song would come on the playlist and it would grab my attention, then I would listen to the lyrics and see that it would be a good fit into the next iteration of the #krankyontour show… the Captain Krankypants Entertainment Extravaganza… and boy does that look fantastic on the planning pad. I cant wait to do more of the current shows so we can refine the most important content into the new experience. More to come on that in the future.

But anyway, as I drove and pondered past and future I realised how at ease and how happy I was – as we know, you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely and I proved to myself this morning, you don’t have to be lonely just because you are alone. Sometimes it is good to be by yourself and away from familiar surroundings to allow your brain to freshen up a bit and do different things.

And so it went on for an hour then I stopped for breakfast before heading off again and another two hours of “Vehicular Meditation”. Then of course, reality returned and traffic began to build, the mist and rain cleared and the normal stresses of driving returned but it was a wonderful few hours alone in my thoughts.

And so as not to ruin a rather positive post I wont discuss the customer service failures of a certain multinational Scottish sounding fast food franchise who have, I am afraid, finally lost me as a customer… if you want to know that story, private message me on Facebook .

Onwards on outwards everyone…

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