What a difference a week can make! But also what tortures we create for ourselves to reach a good place…
My poor mood at the end of my previous blog continued to bleed into my everyday life right until the end of the blog week under review here. And then things changed significantly due to external factors. But the key things I needed to do to be able to get to the good place were just to stick with stuff, go on the offensive, keep open lines of communication, not do anything rash, and be clear on my fallback position.
Having gone through this shitty period and coming out the other end, I find myself finding comfort with Kubler Ross’ Cycle of Grief displayed above and the theory of group formation below. Both theories are applicable to individual and group situations though neither is as pretty nor linear as depicted. Indeed situations are never really so definite and a situation plus reponses are more likely to be mixed and even repetitive. However, both representations are as close as anything I can find to deal with change and trying to make sense of one’s feelings. Indeed ‘grief’, as a good friend of mine has rightly pointed out, is not just about people dying but grief in many different ways including moving from one important life situation to another. Looking back on my bad patch (and they come and go in my life as with any person suffering from depression) I can see I have been distracted from everyday things as well as being at the risk of annoying or even losing good friends. However positively I have had to step up to the mark in order to make progress including reversing usual and accepted roles – doesn’t help to be a wallflower. Could be that things aren’t finished yet but I think I’m definitely at the end of the beginning even if it is not actually the beginning of the end (Churchill quotation).
The Value of Life Coaching (particularly over counselling)
A key thing that keeps me on the straight and narrow in mental health terms on a long-term basis is seeing my life coach Kerr. We were connected up after I was diagnosed HIV+ as a means to help with controlling my condition. Money well spent by the NHS initially in that it definitely helped me come to terms with what was happening and much more useful than just going round and round with counselling. After our term finished, I have kept on meeting Kerr every three months or so – money well spent now on my own part. This has been going on for a few years so we know each other well and I can talk to him easily. Indeed a large part of last week with Kerr and others has simply been about verbally dumping the crap I was dealing with.
Support from Dave, mum and friends
I am so fortunate that Dave and mum have stood by me through bad patches like the one that has just happened. Time with mum on Monday and Thursday (mainly watching soaps and Benidorm) plus Dave came over to visit us both on Tuesday evening. It was lovely to spend time with Dave the previous weekend and in the one just gone. So nice just to watch together the final part of Deutschland 83 on the previous Sunday (good though not always believable and very complex in parts, as is really true of all thrillers) and on the Saturday night just gone we watched DVDs together including the sixties sci-fi classic ‘The Time Tunnel’.
Previous Sunday was actually Valentine’s Day, me and Dave met up with our good friends Stephen and Patrick (‘the boys’ as Dave calls them) at the ever wonderful La Ballerina restaurant in Covent Garden. A chilled lunch much spent talking about issues that arise from as we get older. And we could look out onto the preparations for that night’s BAFTA awards. Then I met up with my playwright friend Jamie on Monday lunchtime to particularly swap holiday stories and plans for the year ahead.
A good meeting with CAST – Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology on Tuesday to discuss progress around both their Digital Fellowships for charity CEOs and the Fuse Accelerator for digital initiatives by charities and social enterprises. Really good response to both even with people being required to make a cash and time commitment of their own. Shows the demand and desire within the traditional not-for-profit sector to know about digital and to be able to use it well to deliver better services for beneficiaries.
Then on Tuesday afternoon with my excellent colleague Golsana to meet up with Toynbee Hall which has just been awarded a grant to develop a new e-learning service to assist in tackling poverty. It’s an exciting and ambitious project so it was good to talk things through before everything kicks off.
Wednesday I spent a day with Wavemaker, the digital exploration and creation centre in Stoke alongside my fellow funder Kathy from Nominet Trust. Wavemaker is particularly aimed at young people so nice to go there during half-term to see their programme for the school holiday. And good to meet the whole team in place now – Ben, Alex, Emma. Exciting times ahead me thinks.
Health and Efficiency
Gym Sunday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Did think about going on Monday as well but couldn’t really motivate myself (almost certainly linked to my low mood at the start of the week). However Monday did do a long walk from Victoria to Euston and the same again on Wednesday. Walking is one of my ways of dealing with stress. Weight on Tuesday was 13-8 which means I lost a pound.
Books and Reading
Two books read last week and three audio books listened to. Of the books one was unexpectedly poor and the other unexpectedly brilliant. Creatures of the Night. In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons by Gregory L Reece. A strange book I happened across on ebay. I enjoy horror and the cover looks great, indeed unfortunately it could be said that the cover was the highlight of the book. A pseudo-academic analysis of what makes us scared, the cultural modern history of horror, and the author’s experiences of meeting vampires, satanists, etc. OK but lots of high-falutin language that really covers something quite lightweight.
Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson is an ex-library book that I picked up in a library sale for pennies. I loved the film and didn’t realise it was based on a book. However, this is a collection of short stories some of which loosely connect to the film – more inspiration for the film than anything else. But the stories themselves are excellent and very masculine concentrating on issues like fighting, sex addiction and father absence. Reminds me a bit of Chuck Palanhiuk (Fight Club) but far more easier to read.
Dr Who audiobooks listened to included The Tenth Planet – the final story of the Hartnell era and the first appearance of the cybermen. This was follwed by Hothouse featuring the eighth doctor (the beautiful Paul McGann) who could have been so good on TV. And then The Nightmare Fair featuring the sixth doctor (Colin Baker). This is a ‘lost story’ due to be made into a TV programme but shelved by the BBC and only produced as a book but then made into an audio book. Good fun and featuring the Celestial Toymaker, a classic villain from other adventures.