Deaf To The World

I have been, what some may call, a little sick the past few weeks. I myself feel like calling it my dead period. I don’t recall the last time I felt as physically sick as I have over the past three weeks. It all start with a little sting in my throat and sinuses. I thought maybe I had had a rough night and spent it snoring my head off. Over the next few hours of that Saturday I started getting a more and more congested in my head and then by 6am Sunday morning I was full of it. I could hardly breathe and my nose wouldn’t stop running. Quick onset cold.

It festered and I got to the point where I couldn’t sit at the computer and resigned Mum and Linda to my company in the Living Room. For the next 10 days I monopolised the TV remote and spent maybe a maximum of 1 hour sat at my desk. I downed tools on Spnak (my photoblog) and I gave up on regularly checking Twitter. Facebook was checked on my iPhone once a day and that was pretty much the extent of my online life.

I am now three weeks later still having the odd problem with a chesty ukky cough but I am back to almost “”normality.” The Only thing that I really can’t handle is the fluctuating deafness in my right ear. It is like hearing the world through a wad of cotton wool. No amount of hot water down there will break up what ever is blocking my ear. It has made life interesting for everyone else around me. Normally I have excellent hearing. As an example, I can be in the kitchen and listen to something on the TV three rooms away or I can hear a request for a hot drink come from Mum whilst listening to Pink Floyd on the PC. Now I have a standard response of “EH WHAT DID YOU SAY.”

I am sick of apologising for having to ask people to repeat themselves every time they speak to me without looking at me. To make matters worse I have to turn everything up 50% louder than it normally would be which makes understanding what people say to me even harder. I know a trip to the GP would be pointless as it’s just a side effect from a cold. I honestly don’t see what the point would be of wasting an appointment on something that should clear itself up fairly quickly. Having said that, if there is no improvement by midweek I may change my outlook on that. My hearing is far to valuable to me to mess around with.

In Mental news – I was invited to a launch event of a group that is run in my area (I may have mentioned them before). I attended the event last Friday and got there with no real expectations. I had been to this building before but it was during a pretty low patch for me and I had not really paid much attention to what was going on around me. When I got to the building I straight away started feeling very panicky. It felt like what I imagined being on a Submarine must feel like. The event was well attended but this also meant not much room. I couldn’t physically get much further than the door to the main room. I was penned into the lobby of the building and when I ventured in the whole place just started crowding over my head. I was handed a presentation pack of events that the group would be running n the near future and I spoke to the group leader and then I had to make my excuses and get out for a while.

Its been quite some time since I had felt like this. I was on my own as, up to this point, I had been on a pretty good run Mental Health wise. I had been using my coping skills I had learnt from previous groups both here and back up in Corby. I always had my exit strategy planned out before, this time I was flying blind and it freaked me out. Luckily Linda was in town still and a quick text and we found each other fairly quickly. I really hope this isn’t me sliding back to a bad place. I say this as I have been having some weird feelings over the weekend.

I have for the past 12 months had this growing urge to get back to a more structured way of living. Having somewhere to go at a certain time on a certain day. Something akin to getting a job. Getting off over two thirds of my medication and getting out of the haze has helped me in this. Realising that I AM getting better at living a better life was helping me think about reintroducing myself back to the world. This weekend however, I have felt a general apathy towards pretty much everything. I would ordinarily put this down to the Cold/Flu thing I have had, but this was different. This was all in my head and not a general malaise. I really felt that there was no real point to any bloody thing going on around me. Things that had kept me going during my physical illness no longer held any kind of meaning for me. I had no real desire to be around anyone, the TV that I had been watching or the books that I had been reading were doing absolutely nothing for me. I want to say I felt MEH!! but it was so much more than that. I actually felt lazy and unmotivated.

I know Lazy and Unmotivated is exactly what Daily Mail readers would consider about the right state of mind for some one on benefits and out of work and for once a small part of my mind actually agreed with them.

Does this present state of mind actually mean that I have rejoined the non-mentally interesting world and I am cured or is this yet another symptom of my illness that is introducing itself. I have no idea what would happen if I tried to get a job. No doubt in the current climate it wouldn’t be easy for me to do so as after having almost 4 years out of work with Mental Health problems would probably hinder any chances I had at offering a glowing reassurance to any employer. Having had a panic attack at being in a rather small place on Friday only illustrates to me that there is still some work to do, maybe that is what has triggered off these feelings of being ineffectual in where I am at the moment. A setback will do just that.. set you back.

Well I have rambled on more than I intended to today. I found some old stuff I wrote almost a decade ago that seems scarily relevant to what I have been going through over the past few years. I may add a few to the website once I get over the cringing feeling of my own juvenile attempts at poetry.

Until Next Time…

It’s A New Day

Well as I mentioned back in January, I wanted to go about creating my own design for one of my blogs this year and I hoped that it would be well under way by the start of the Summer. As you can probably tell, my hopes have kind of paid off. The only downside is that it’s bloody cold outside and it’s been raining on and off all day.. Hey I guess that could pass as a British Summer.

About 2 weeks ago I started exploring the best way for me to refresh the blog and try to finally put my own stamp on it. In the past I have been pretty much wholly reliant on others creative and technical skill and ability to present my vision of my blogs. For the most part that has been great and I have been happy. My first custom theme for this blog was created by my Brother, I gave him a very basic outline of what I would like and he went away and came up with the goods. That theme was the main theme here for about 18 months.

When I came back to the idea of creating my own design, I had to be realistic. I had, in January, planned on creating the design from the ground up and beating myself to death trying to learn something so quickly. So I looked for other options, I even went as far as looking at alternative software to run the site on other than WordPress (not something I would EVER consider again.. there be some stupidly BAD programmes out there that claim they can do everything WP can but in reality, they can’t even hold a candle in the same section of the Internet). I couldn’t find my usual “easy option”, so I went back to WordPress and looked again at what it takes to build a theme. To cut a long story slightly shorter I decided to find a good theme that I could mangle and adapt to what I wanted.

My hunt began I must have downloaded 40/50 themes and gone through them trying to find a theme that was easy to customise and have everything I wanted. After the 50th download, I realised I would have to widen my options and take a steeper learning curve. That’s when I found this theme – SimpleX. It looked nothing like I wanted my end site to look like, but I took a look into the workings of the site (the parts that I knew I would be working on) and from there, well, I don’t remember actually setting out to start work on the design.. I just flowed into the process.

It took roughly 8 days for me to get the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts done on my local test site. I had a pretty impressive 215 line style sheet that I had put together myself with no help that I couldn’t find through Google and the WordPress forums.

It’s at this point where I wonder if my Brother feels left out now that I am gaining courage in his domain.

 After 8 days of trial and error and coming up with something that I felt resembled as a look at what I originally set out to achieve I had just one or two little elements on the design that I just couldn’t crack on my own. I had set out to do this on my own and to get as far as I could before I would ask for help. I realised I had come to that point and I asked my Brother for that help. What had vexed me for hours was solved in a mater of 30 minutes with his help. The good thing is, I had sensible ideas of what should have happened by including the code that wouldn’t work for me.. I just didn’t know the technical terms for why and how it wasn’t working. But Nik had the answers and he put into play some of the ideas I had and tweaked a few bits with his own speed and gift.

So now, It’s time. I unleash the newest version of It’s Just A Ride.

Thanks for reading and visiting.

Until Next Time…

Back On The Horse

After taking the second half of March off from pretty much everything, I am back trying to wrestle some kind of creativity back into my life. The only thing that has been a constant for me is my daily postings to my photoblog www.spnak.com. I have, without fail, posted one post/image a day since late December. I have found something that I can focus on and improve at without needing to get external validation. It doesn’t matter to me what others think. I am taking the pictures everyday to see how much better today’s image is compared to yesterdays, what apps work for that style of shot.

I have been bitten by the photography bug. I spend more time during the day looking at other photographers websites. I spend quite a bit of time going through the Instagram iPhone app looking at neat images that defy the realms of what I thought a phone could do.

As I had mentioned before I spent about 3 months locked in the house hiding away from the invisible eyes spying on me. A side effect of coming out of the other side of that is that I now feel the urge to go out so much more than I ever did before. Unfortunately I still can’t manage this on my own and I try and make plans that means I can get out with either Linda or Mum. Things happen though and sometimes it’s not possible and I get my knickers in a twist and end up feeling pent up and frustrated that I can’t go out. At this point in time I don’t see what’s stopping me from going solo. The rational side of my brain is saying “Go For It.. what’s the worst that can happen?” the irrational side of my head is screaming “Don’t Go Out.. they will see”. I think I need to take baby steps again. Maybe take a walk around the corner and see what I can see. You see all this impetus to go out is to go out and get more pictures for the photoblog. (I’m hooked.. I told you as much).

I mentioned in my mini update that I had been referred to a Creative Arts Group. Well the first session was last Tuesday and feeling rather apprehensive I showed up and decided to give it my best shot. Now I have NEVER EVER proclaimed to be an artist (maybe a piss artist in my youth.) I don’t create art, I do STUFF. It’s the way I have always been. You need to have a set of skills to create art. If I create anything that resembles good, “it’s a fluke, I got lucky that time.” I don’t count my leanings to photography as Art yet.. I see that as a stepping stone to finding something I can finally learn to be good at. So attending a Creative Arts group would help in seeing the things around me in a different way.

The group is small which is great for me, it’s not overwhelming and I don’t feel as conspicuous by being there. It has a great feeling, a feeling that eventually we will spend most of the two hours relaxing and hanging doing something creative together. We were sent an itinerary of what will happen over the 12 weeks of the group and there doesn’t seem to be anything geared towards a group project, but from the way the first session went, a session or two could quite easily morph into something group orientated, we’ll see.

The first session was Still Life Drawing. There was a 3D collage of items set up in the middle of a few tables pushed together. We were asked to draw what we saw. Be it the whole collage or just one section of it. I knew, for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to draw the whole thing so I chose a Jar. It was kind of like a Pasta jar without a lid. I spent the first 45 minutes fumbling around trying to get it right, but basically came out with a bunch of stick figures that tried to look like a jar. I think the facilitators of the group could see my frustrations as I spent more time with an eraser in my hand than a pencil. It just so happened that on the whiteboard in the room the resident artist had drawn a diagram of how to draw the jar I was attempting. He explained to me the principle of blocking out the Jar and drawing it in sections. Slowly I started again following his instructions. Over the next 40 minutes my stick figure jar actually transformed into something that actually resembled what I wanted it to. I even got cocky and drew in some detail and shaded the jar. At the end of the session both group leaders commented on how good it looked, and you know what, I was actually pleased that I had improved over the 2 hour period. It felt good.. an instant boost to my self esteem.

Next week it’s collage.

Well that’s it for me for now. I hope no one was April Fooled to badly today. I stayed in bed until 11 so I only had to manage an hour without getting humiliated.

Until Next Time…