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Mentally paralysed – all paths blocked!

I have reached a point where I am mentally num and dysfunctional. The situation of my life has six distinct activity areas. At the moment they all need to be fed, watered and tendered, but I cannot move, I cannot focus on anyone thing.

Work, University, Cancer, Special Guardianship, my son, his partner are the broad headings. Their order shifts all day long. But there is always one that is more dominant. I have great difficulty in choosing a priority for any length of time.

Yet again I am in a cafe convincing myself I am working on my final piece of work for Uni as that is the priority, but a thought crept passed my study eyes and BAM it’s gone. What is my priority?: I know, I’ll introduce a plausible diversion and still convince myself I am working. Yes it worked – I am typing this – bugger.

In thought now and I realise I have not a real moment for my own personal thoughts, and this (typing gibberish) is my only release but it’s still about the load I have with me. It’s not a true escape!

I only read this yesterday and don’t know who to give credit to, but: it’s like being on a route on a map and being halfway there only to be told you are on the wrong map.

Yes …. I am emotionally lost …. I have not even got the energy to beat my self up.

More talking …

The sessions I had with the therapist were strange to start with. Never in my life had I ever spoken so openly to anyone about me.

She listened and showed only empathy.  Occasionally asking questions that took me in a parallel direction but allowed my concentration to pick up on buried experiences in depths of my mind.  I was never questioned in a way that appeared to apportion blame or cast doubt

I’ll say now, at every session I cried.  I did not feel embarrassed at all, and not any better for doing so either.  Even now the closest I can get to for trigger moments is my total disgust with myself for my inability in times of need not to be able help others.

I could not help at the train crash or the suicide, so I became a victim of circumstance; which I could not accept but also could not reduce the anguish I felt.

I fear blood. I pass out and end up having to receive help.

So a double hit for my emotions and feelings: can’t help BUT BUT BUT I must.

Our discussion first had to workout which was my biggest concern, the train crash or the suicide.

Both events were as vivid today as if it had happened yesterday.  I had had longer to stew on the train accident and it was this event that gave me the greatest torment.

During the last year – Talking Theories

Late in publishing

Roundabout this time last year (2016) I was anxious as to what to expect from counselling.  I was open minded in as much I accepted I had to have help.  But unsure as to how my mind would be prepared to give up what it was hiding from me let alone to a stranger.

I had had one session and felt very comfortable in the presence of the lady therapist.  I was given straightforward guidance:  I hold the answer, I will be lead, not pushed and on the whole I will set the pace. I was happy with this.  I should expect to dig deep into my past.  I was reassuring and said I would be open and honest.

We talked about were I was, what triggered my actions and how those actions were played out.  Even now I do not like my self for responding how I did, but …

In short and mentioned in previous pages; when purposely provoked I would have great problems containing my emotions and let rip taking no prisoners.  Afterwards I would inwardly brew and beat my self up.  The pain of this never dissipated it just accumulated with the last and I know the next.

The therapist asked about people who I admired and could draw inspiration from when needed at a time of provocation.  It took a little time (two, three weeks) and I chose Gandalf, Schindler and Banardo.

Gandalf for his ability to always have a great grasp of the issues, an answer and present his case in a calm and compassionate way while listening to others point of views.

Schindler for his true compassion and not wanting or expecting anything in return.

Banardo for his wish to help children who in their formative years need love and compassion in a safe environment and again with no personal benefit.

This idea brings forward the expectation that I can take inspiration from them and act according to good role models that come with my very own recommendations.

The problem is the short fuse I have.  I have a firework rocket in one hand and a lite match in the other … it does not take long to … it’s a shorter time than it is divert my attention with an intervention.

The Future is Bright, the Future is Mental Health.

This was me (below) but life has moved on. Counselling showed me I was not to blame and I can change my perspective on the past and remember it.  It is okay, safe and not disloyal to others to remember what happened without the negative effect that came to drive my life.

You don’t need me to tell you how mental health has come to the fore but this blog has evolved for me, as mental health issues are affecting every part of my family and family life.  It is as though from nowhere we are all involved at a deep routed profound level of existence.

I have now given myself a wider remit as I want to record what is happening as, to be honest, I can’t believe what we are going through. I thought we were a normal family and if everyone is as normal as we are it is a rum life we have.

This was me: A confused person suffering with PTSD.  Confused as I feel a fraud. People I know still see the old me, old because I know I have changed, and I feel cannot understand what I am going through on the inside.  I would consider myself a mild sufferer as I don’t exhibit every PTSD trait.

… and so it ended

My time came to an end. I became aware that all the talking I had needed to do had been done, and talking anymore, and being helped, would not add to my level of understanding. I felt comfortable with my situation.

All the unpacking of stuck and un-reconciled thoughts had been sufficiently unpacked and restored suitable.  Any more talking or EMDR would not expand my knowledge or understanding of the events or sooth my feelings and emotions more.

We did a round up and a summary flowed. It’s okay to remember and not feel upset or guilty.  It’s okay to have sad memories but they should not drag me down or be allowed to act as fuse to ignite emotions.

My inherent desire to help should be limited in expectations to what I can reasonable do, and I should not feel guilty about not doing enough!

This end was, even now, unexpected on my part.  I sat down for a session and I concluded I felt things had run there course.  I had spoken enough, listened enough and cried enough.  It no longer gripped me on recall.  I was happy to recall and be in that past moment again but with a subdued emotional feeling.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Not surprisingly EMDR was a new thing to me.  So I instinctively researched the topic.  Like it said in the material: the actual reason it works is not fully understood but it does.

The link above is to a US site; it describes a clear procedure to follow in a numbered section.  With hindsight I was taken through the process.

My sessions were conducted using headphones and a regular click alternating between my ears to achieve by-lateral stimulation.

The premise is: there are unsaved memories stored within the mind that have not been fully assimilated to become a fully reconciled memories.  These un-reconciled memories are in an unconscious state but never the less feed and disrupt other mental activities, which manifest in different ways, for different people at various times with different trigger moments.  Needless to say the outcome is usually negative.

While this ‘left click, right click, left click’ continues I was to be engaged with questions to consider answers for which, for unknown reasons, unpacks the un-reconciled memory and gracefully slides all the anguish and hurt into new homes within the mind in an organised and non-anguished way.

So in my terms, it is de-fragmenting my mind to remove the harmful information by neutralising it.

Questions – questions

Each week I had homework to do … think about this, think about that.  No problem to me as it was mostly thinking … and thinking about me.

I had a standard form to complete each week that was used to gauge my improvement, or decline in attitude to my life and anxious moments.  It stayed pretty constant.

One thing did surprise me, and it should not have done so, was a question as to whether I had contemplated suicide as a solution.  No, not at all.  I only thought about it when I read the question for the first time.

However, I did want a sanguine revenge though: I wanted a number of people to know how they had contributed to my plight and what it had done to me.

That was not going to happen as they were too well connected both within and outside the company for me to be listened to.

Friday, another Friday – panic and mayhem

For a conducive working spirit harmony has to prevail.  Harmony inculcates teams to overcome adversities. So when you are sworn at do so at your peril.

Deadlines were well described in a previous blog so another Friday’s deadline is no surprise really apart from this was the postponed deadline from last week with a twist; not resourced adequately. One young person was pulled from pillar to post and was being given instructions to do this by one,  no change that back, by another, move that here, no here by another.  No coordinating of the work between themselves.

So when sworn at in one of the many harassment and bullying telephone calls he said enough is enough and stopped work long enough to make a formal complaint. This resulted in a good number of telephone calls before his work was concluded.  Yep, deadline missed … again.

There is a moral here: if you want your team to work hard and deliver – treat them with respect. This is even more critical if there is only one person in your team!

Been advised not to write

Only a little keyboard exercise 🙂

I am undergoing counselling sessions and been advised not to write down my feelings. I fully understand the explanation but miss this outlet like hell.

I think that while writing I am incorrectly solving the problems I have and I need to be counselled with unfettered thoughts that have not been cross-influenced.

Its dawned on them … things need to be checked

A full circle has been made … and not before time …

Firstly, I have managed to move groups so I am away from the irrational people. That was the good news, the bad news is my new location is only 3m away from where I sat and I can still hear the machinations of the day.

The full circle is having frog marched people into issuing incorrect information while having the expectation of being able pull the wool over people’s eyes simply so deadline were hit, failed. They were noticed ha f ha.

So the new regime is; information can only be issued if it is correct. Well, what a surprise! Shock horror, correct information, whatever next! That is what all industries, hmm! apart from banking, are expected to do by default.

There is a nuance here that should be explained. There is a difference between being substantially correct and not misleading to being incorrect through lack of design experience and/or resources being used to solve a problem or not as the case may be. The former is controllable and will reflect the design stage at which the information is concerned. The later catches people out.

Time to Talk is talking

I had the all-important telephone call … come in it’s time to talk. But first …

It has taken a great deal of time to get this counselling; this is not the fault of the lady who I was scheduled to meet, but the system, which if you break that down further comes down to resources.

When resources are short, it is, I think, a natural instinct to try and cope. This applies to life in general not just this situation: look to reduce waste, look for better ways to process information, try and cut-out unnecessary activities, redesign activities and process etc. When these have been exhausted, future options become difficult.

All my working life (could be 40 years – can’t be bothered to calculate it) I have tolerated politicians of all persuasions saving me money on the services I have to use. Time and time again ‘… we need to reduce wastage. Yes, on the back of the last bout of waste reducing policies we just made and have not yet completed.’ Services I have paid for, services run by people who are dedicated through and through to public service with compassion and humility – good people who don’t subscribe to profit at any cost. Let’s make it clear, that is not the same as being anti-capitalist at all. We have all benefited from capitalism regardless of political persuasion and I do not want to offer this forward as for speaking for everyone else, but I am against rip-off-capitalism.

Our Government, I believe, do not have to publish accounts to prove what they are saying is true and correct. They all stumble between projections of what they want and shortfalls made by previous post holders.

Austerity is just a rouse through which the Government use to put a veneer over its hidden agenda of privatising everything through rip-off-capitalism; the great British public are not supposed to have any common sense at all, through another set of policies in education, to be able to see the bigger picture that in general is profit orientated – capitalism of the rip-off variety and not compassionate service based.

So we are in a situation where the first past-the-post system of representation allows about 25% of the populace to have their way and dismantle society without being challenged. BUT the people who are doing it don’t have the balls to tell people the truth.

I felt it necessary to say this as it is why I feel my appointment was, I would think about three months late.

There was an administrative mix-up about venue which we resolved. I felt very comfortable talking to the lady, who reassuringly was able to interject with facts that we had talk about over the telephone, possible two months previously. I felt she had taken the trouble to research my predicament and understood what I had been through.  We discussed the process I was going to go through and with a layman’s hat on it made sense. I say process as I think I have to unpack things, unlearn things and repack only what I want to move forward with. Even having gone through various things over the last three months and felt happier, note happier, not happy, I still have reservations about the ethics of letting go of the suicide victim. I am happy where I am, but I know I have to revisit that aspect.

On balance I feel this accident was the opening that exposed a vulnerability to my true feelings that had been there, possible since the previous train accident, which I had not addressed. It may sound trite but it may be a man thing. ‘It’s my duty to be a man, cope, ignore it and it will go away.’ It don’t.

I was given a form to complete that recorded my emotions to daily successes and failures. I appreciate what it is for but I don’t see my life in this way. My job involves ‘designing’ solutions to problems. I regularly go through failures as that is an intrinsic part of the process. I have my work peer reviewed and questioned daily, that is not failure or success, it is a professional way of working. Well, it was the arrogant removal and substitution with unprofessional people in this process with people who do not know the difference between hay and a bulls foot that was the trigger at work for me to stand my ground. (Read unprofessional in attitude and not professional qualified to do such work.)

My thoughts on how I handled the situation have changed since I was off work for a month: I am far less benevolent. I have witnessed many other people being treated in a similar manner to myself and have seen similar responses. Four people have left the company, I have moved to another group and two more are on the verge of leaving. In summary 280 years of experience reduced about 10 year’s. In my opinion a real masterclass in constructive dismissal.

I do think regularly about my situation and while it has been just over two weeks since my last blog entry my thoughts are about ‘where am I’ are not negatively biased but more around, ‘I can change whatever I want’ and ‘where do I go to get out of the mind set I am in’, and critically ‘where do I want to go, what do I want to be, what type of person should I be’. I an still trying to understand me and my normal.

Press here: to reset your emotions

I had recognised what was happening in my life (this blog is my history – well, its work in progress) and I knew certain aspects of it had to change for my mental health to adjust to what I want as my normal. I don’t want other people passing their crap to me as though it was a right they paid me for. I for many years considered this type of working relationship a necessary evil to make progress on both the work promotion front and to get a job finished. I had to change how I responded to external stimuli in my life.

At work I am trying to become detached from the everyday chaos that is still the modus operandi. I am now able to let things flow past me and not become inwardly angry with what is happening. This is a cultivated response which is fuelled by my desire to let those responsible for the problems they cause to remain responsible for them. Time and arrogance will be the only witness!

Due to how we are being managed at work, when something is brewing that I should have a professional interest in, I ask myself … Is what I might say going to add any information and take the debate forward; if yes consider carrying on. Next, … will what I might say be remembered for what it’s worth and taken in the spirit it is intended; if yes consider carrying on. Then, … Is this just a rehash of a previous problem being re-asked because the previous answer was not liked; if yes consider stopping. Lastly, … will I just get the bums rush and ignored regardless of my contribution; if yes don’t bother, just stop there and don’t get involved.

This again is a cultivated response that is becoming easier to use as it is stress neutral by reducing the frequency of being given the bums rush and having the personal problems and grief associated with it.

In my private life I am rearrange things to rebalance my wellbeing. I am spending more time doing less. I am not planning every minute of every day at home. I am emotionally neutral if I don’t complete something I am working on and I am happy to take a break in another room whenever I want and for however long I want. I am not worried if I don’t leave the house on time if I don’t need to.

I have pressed the reset button on my emotions.

 

Frequency and who suffers?

I appreciate there are lies, dammed lies and statistics and we only have to look at how politicians bend statistics to tell the great public things that are utterly plausible and accepted as true on face value.


Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point.

The term was popularised in United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli’s works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Several other people have been listed as originators of the quote, and it is often erroneously attributed to Twain himself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics Accessed 26/03/2016


That is until the facts are dissected by people who know about this type of deception. Once the facts are understood in context of their source rarely do they represent their original claim.

Facts are facts so depending on many factors you may considered enlighten or duped.

So, in summary many political outpourings such as in manifesto or worse policy are unadulterated propaganda that is skillfully dressed up and presented as facts. I draw no distinction between any political party with their spin doctors or a lobbying company with their money and in some cases charities and note the more totalitarian or tyrannical the organization or country the more they believe their own stories or want us to believe them.

Long gone are evidence based policies: just another example of irrationality in life. We seem to suffer from a rash of self-serving people whose aim is to increase their personal wealth by slight-of-hand and to the detriment of anyone and everyone who is there. Statistics are a wonderful tool and when aimed at a sheep mentality audience who aspire to ape the presenters they are believed with the same fervour as an athlete gasps for air when (s)he crosses the finish line. By the time (s)he gets their breath back the damage is done!

I mention the above as trying to find sources of data for mental health issues is difficult. I can find interpretation of facts but at present not facts. I have visited the ONS (uk) and mentioned then earlier and I am sure will do so in the future.

My research will now start in earnest: I will be looking into the main political parties last manifestos and policy statements; key charities statement of intent and other policy documents, the NHS and local commissioning agencies.

If you have any suggestions I would be pleased to have them.

Today – long car journey, thinking …

I have spent nine hours today motorway driving. This included about an hour this morning in slow and sometimes stationary traffic. I enjoy driving, apart from the journey of my recent accident, which came up in thought on both the outward and homeward journey.

I nearly have the need and reason to explain why I have not been as proactive as I should have been. It’s not critical but a curtesy thing really. I started to play through what I was going to say and it naturally gravitated to explaining about my accident. At which time I welled up and wanted to cry. I don’t really know the chap although he has always been friendly and encouraging towards me I don’t know his politics. I don’t mean Politics I mean how he views things such as this: which is a barrier, he is a stranger really.

On the way home I had to drive under the bridge where I had my accident. This I have done for nearly every working day for six months, but the lighting conditions were near as they had been on the night AND a car driver used their breaks in the roughly the same spot as the accident. My memory flow stopped, my hearing stopped and my gaze froze: I just passed the scene in splendid silence.

Isolationism

I don’t want to be an isolationist but I fear talking to people about PTSD who have not experienced it; it is difficult because I feel I don’t want to have to explain why I feel what I feel and I don’t want the knock-back because they don’t get it. I don’t always have the right words to say. Its not the same in anyway to typing this now: I am in control, I can rewrite and rewrite as many times as I like to express exactly what I want to say.

It’s a shame Mental Health is considered …

If I break a leg and people see it in a plaster cast they can qualify easily what has happened and a have a good idea of what they could reasonably expected me to do. They would also recognise I had recovered when I have my plaster cast removed.

My PTSD – my appearance has not changed. I physically look the same and on the whole I now behave the same; I might have coping strategies in place to deal with certain situations that I want to avoid but people who know me judge me based upon their hang-ups in their minds not the facts before them or an understanding of what I am thinking.

Broken bones can be fixed, mental health issues, for many onlookers, can’t be fixed – ever or at least until they forget. From my perspective, i.e. not an expert witness or mental health practitioner, I feel many things just rebalance themselves. I have stronger feelings about allsorts of things now, but balance is there.

I feel I am lucky and now appreciate there are many thousands of people who bear witness to being stigmatized because of a label that has been used to group similar attributes, in this case mental health conditions, so easy reference can be made to them: they can be counted, sorted, rearranged as statistics to either prove or disprove a theory, or be tested upon with treatments: and perhaps worse of all ignored by politicians as they consider them as a minority group who cannot organise themselves and as such will not have an impact on their political ambitions.

This is not a scientific based theory and I don’t know whether any research could actually prove, or disprove this come to that matter, but I suspect there are far far greater differences in people and people’s attitudes about life and politics in general than separate people with mental health issues from those who think they are normal – it’s that word again ‘normal’. So why the hang-ups?

Please let me know what you think normal is?

A safe place for memories

With help I packaged up many thoughts from my conscious mind and stored them in a safe place where I can choose to look at when I want. The deal is; they stay there as a complete memory; anger, unhappiness, feelings of sadness, self loathing as I could not help – to name a few, so I could move on; and remember them when I want on my terms. I was scared to just dump them as I felt it disrespectful. They are my history, they have forged a different part of me, which, like it or not, is now well embedded within me.

I have after two months of putting these thoughts aside successfully I have visited them once – just now. Why, I have no idea. I was able to remember things, replay the two separate events, see my self at the scenes – still disliking my responses of the time. I replayed the encounters with the irrational people I have the misfortune to work with and don’t feel my blood rising.

They are now back in storage and happy for being remembered and glad not to have been forgotten.

It has in someways been like rereading a paragraph of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed the first time and had great expectations of reliving my enjoyment again only to find it an anticlimax. Strange – I feel really good about that. I never thought an anticlimax could be enjoyable or even beneficial.

I am not very good at remembering birthdays and anniversaries so to ensure I do pay my respect to all people I know, whether here with me or departed I have for many years used Remembrance Sunday in November as my key date for recon-pence. That day is a ‘collective humanity day’ – for me at least.

Want to learn … Passive Aggressive behaviour

I have mentioned before that want to know more about what make me tick. Again I have mentioned a blog I have started to read in which ‘Passive Aggressive’ behaviour was mentioned, so, I followed through and a clip of a description is below.


Extract: Passive Aggression in the Workplace

In the workplace a passive-aggressive employee or employer may use these techniques as a form of control and/or intimidation. The worker might sulk, make faces, scowl inwardly when given jobs to do or may agree politely and then take ages to do them. By doing so, he they are showing annoyance in the hope they will not be asked to do those tasks again. Employers can also use passive aggression when confronted with employee problems, turning a blind eye, not facing facts or dealing with genuine cases of bullying and intimidation. This avoidant behaviour can be very damaging to individuals and teams of individuals within organisations.

Consequences of Passive Aggressive Behaviour

In being passive aggressive you are not giving yourself or others an opportunity to listen to what you think or feel

When on the receiving end of passive aggression, you can feel confused, upset, offended, guilty and frustrated. You may think you’ve done something wrong, but have no clear idea what it was

  • It avoids communication in a very negative way
  • It creates insecurity in all parties
  • It creates a bad atmosphere between people
  • It is a form of conflict where either both or one party cannot engage sensibly in the issues
  • It avoids the real issues
  • It creates negative feelings and resentments in an unassertive way

http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour accessed 16/03/2016


It hurts me to think how ignorant of these things I am!

To cut a long story short – I have been on the receiving end of a ‘Passive Aggressive’ manager, and in combination with my PTSD suffered.

It was not a question of coping well with life post-accident as I did not appreciate there was anything untoward to cope with. It was my life and I was moving forward etc. It was only when I passed a ‘flip point’ with a manager by having to respond to him in a verbally aggressive manner did it became a problem for me. Until I read the above I categorised the encounters as just not being able to work for an irrational person, when in fact he fitted, and the situation fitted the descriptions above much better. He is still irrational though!

 

My normal … what is it?

Musings of a mad woman   Please read her blogs – I enjoy them for her honesty, I understand her.

Hi there. I have mentioned before I like your blogs. I think I enjoy the freedom you write with and how you express your normal.

I only understand a little about being bipolar as I shared a studio with a lady artist whose work was produced in low times and always in black and white. They were large paintings and showed commitment to her chosen bent. I always had to suspend belief when I looked at her work as trying to say it’s this or it’s that did not work for me. They were abstract really and the beauty I saw in them was me wondering what she was thinking and saw when painting.

I am here because I am trying to find out what normal is for me. I have/is/was/may do again suffer with PTSD and just cannot get my old mind-set back. I am not sure whether I actually want it back either. I enjoyed my life but as I said my normal isn’t no more. I don’t know whether to just drift along and over time return or whether I should say just start again and let go of my ideas of what I thought I was.

I belonged to a kite club and for many years would go out with other people and … yes fly kites. It was a good pastime and I made some good friends who I might not see for a long time but still enjoy their company when we meet.

I enjoyed the fly-ins not only because I enjoyed flying kites but also as no one spoke about what they did for a living. Yes, we would talk casually but no one declared they were a ??? or a ??? we were all equal and help was always offered and accepted openly and keenly. No one judged anyone else based upon a side of person they did not see or know; sterotypical people did not exist.

I accept many people look at me and define me by my job. I don’t like that at all, it’s a very shallow approach, not too dissimilar to how much money  you have or don’t! Over the last few months I have spent many hours thinking about me: It started by working out diversion plans on how to avoid particular people and how to draw conversations with others to a quick close. It then morphed into what qualities do I like and dislike and now is whether to make a conscious attempt to change my external appearance. It seems a crisis of my own making, perhaps a delayed mid-life crisis – I don’t know.

On a humours note, my distain for being defined by your occupation is not a new concern, as when I completed a form for one of my children while at school, I was asked ‘Occupation’ I answered ‘Trainee Astronaut’.

I attended a NPL course many years ago and liked and appreciated its purpose. A key factor for me on this course was to be able to recognise what normal is, find a base marker, so I could recognise and respond to changes in my feelings, and be in control. My efforts now are not to dissimilar to that time.

 

 

Is it wrong to get cross?

I’ll start at the end: No. Now I’ll qualify that.


Definitions

Cross: angry and annoyed; ill-humoured; snappish.

Happy: delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.

Aggression: Psychiatry. overt or suppressed hostility, either innate or resulting from continued frustration and directed outward or against oneself.

Frustration: a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

dictionary.com accessed 07/03/2016


 

I believe being cross or happy are just part of a straight line continuum, cross being near one end, say the left hand end, and happy being near the other end, say the right hand end. Normal being somewhere in the middle.  I expect that during any day we float between these two markers and don’t see any danger, neither getting cross or happy.

Apply pressure, negative or positive, and we may go past these markers and start to experience noticeable differences to our responses. Again these responses may be negative or positive. Looking past ‘cross’ we may get verbal aggression and subsequently physical aggression and looking past ‘happiness’ we may get excitement and ecstatic feelings.

I should add this is only my take on this subject and my response, and is not based upon rigorous science, but on what I think when I take a detached view on where I am now and what has caused me grief over the last six or so months. But as personal reflection is such a good tool I am finding mental gremlins in my past that have waited until now to surface. … I am really working hard at this reflection stuff and shifting my thoughts about does cause me pain.

Our propensity to do either, be cross or happy is, I would assume, based upon the baggage of life we are carrying and our state of mind at that precise moment of interaction. If we don’t resolve the feeling of crossness or happiness at the first attempt the emotion is just rolled forward to adds to the dilemma.

For me, when we engage in a discussion we all start ‘normal’ and as equals – both having something to contribute. Both possess different life experiences, facts, and supporting information, which may or may not generate personal preferences. Perhaps with more people involved more facts or knowledge are known and it could contribute more to the solution – this is good and creates situations where people learn through osmosis.

I feel getting cross is just an expression of super-sensitive feelings towards something; where I have actually run out of words to say and I feel I still have not been allowed to get my point across frustration builds and can trigger into verbal aggression directed at the person who is not listening. In my eyes the situation is still unresolved and it needs to be completed. It is not about winning, it’s about being listened to with respect and decorum while resolving a problem.

You might think I am just a sore loser, but I am not. I have learned how to enlist help from others, how to construct a case and present facts, build a defence and assess whether personal preferences are valid for inclusion and until recently what arguments to actually pick.

The point is the frustration stays with me as I have to live with the results of an inconclusive debate which often means doing a job badly as that is deemed appropriate.

I have concluded my verbal aggression is really frustration in a super-sensitive state; that manifests itself as a flash point when I have to decide whether I should fight or flee: it’s my flight. I can do no more and I now accept that. But it lingers within me as suppressed verbal hostility playing with my mind, which I know is not necessarily wrong, but detrimental to me and it keeps building and building while I am consistently being pressured, which I resisted, by irrational people who have no compassion.

As a footnote: it has taken a day or two to type this blog, in which time a good working colleague has tendered his notice and left with almost immediate effect. He had been forced to sign documents confirming he approved work which in his professional capacity he considered to be sub-standard. A sorry state of affairs in a professional organisation.

Train Crash – Purley

Today, many years ago I was in a train crash at Purley.

Anniversary of personal hurt. Not physical.

I don’t know, I am consumed.

I am not sure about this, and whether this is a natural part of recover, but I spend an incredible amount of time just thinking about my state of mind while I am doing things. I am balancing everyday occurrences for what impact they are having on me and whether I think they are right or wrong based upon the events of the last six months and a fragile mind of the moment. The thoughts and the process could just be what I did think about but was not really aware of them or their significance. My mind is doing overtime!

There have been occurrences at work where I have become very churned-up inside because someone has spoken badly to someone else, or where irrational logic, based upon ignorance or bravado is being applied and therefore the answer can only be wrong or misleading. This discredits people and causes their future conversations with people to be not trusted before they even open their mouths.

This churned-up feeling starts by me stopping listening to details of the conversation and trying to separate fact from fiction or personal preferences of one party or the other. I create my own response based upon the facts I have heard and my understanding and I get a build-up of rhetoric that wants to burst out; I then have to subdue this emotion as my aim is not to get involved. It’s difficult as I know I want to keep out.

I have been lucky, I believe the manifestation of my problems is only mild and I fear what could have been and must maintain this level of ‘normality’ and not allow anxiety to do its ugly work.

The wheels on the bus go round …

There are lots of times when I have to be amongst people to function to do my job. There are times when I am there I would rather be else where: not because I actually want to be elsewhere it’s just I rather not run the risk of confrontation so being out of it removes that incendiary moment.

The situation at work is not really different at all. Chaos upon despair coupled with anguish and anxiety for many people in the team.

I can only make an analogy with a part of the film Santa Claus in which Dudley More stars. A peasant woodcutter becomes Santa Claus and foils an evil toy manufacturer’s scheme to take over Christmas. One bright spark decides that the production line process is the best way of producing all the toys and quality control is dispensed with. The following Christmas all the toys break quickly and there is hell to pay.

This is us. Quality is being dispensed with and while it appears everyone is happy our wheels will drop off before long, and our hell will open. Retribution will follow.

The really annoying part is we are having to work harder to produce less and still we cannot maintain quality.

Still no one listens! Frustration ensues – I find it very difficult to keep quite and had to speak out today. I let my self down greatly. I must not get sucked into this quagmire, only I will fail.

Mankind – past its sell by date

It has taken me a time to appreciate how life is and works. It is only now that the bell has rung for me and put me in my place. I am not special; I am nothing. I am just a member of the animal kingdom. The two accidents and the lack of caring for my own wellbeing brought me to this state. The time off I have had has given me so much thinking time that it’s a life changer for me.

You think you and your family are special and then reality kicks in … you’re not special, your family, while precious, are just a part of the animal kingdom who have learned to speak and communicate with others, and horrible just take with no regard to other animals we live along side.

This communication stuff, between humans, has actually caused the whole of mankind more problems than we need. For many thousands of years’ animals and sea creatures have lived side by side and just eat each other where required with no malice and no wars. Some are vegetarians, some are meat eaters and each species has developed so as to balance the natural use of the environment.

This was all well and good right through pre-history and until us humans managed to utter a few sounds with regularity and others associated a fixed meaning with them. This, I suspect, used in conjunction with body language meant patterns of exchange between humans could be repeated with predictable results; much like hunting animals when operating in packs.

We then discovered deceit. Yes, say one thing and mean something else. That means we can lie to others and get what we want without fair exchange. We can justify that with the good old moral feeling that we are correct and got what we wanted and we don’t have to feel guilty – it was our right to be able to do it.

Through periods of history science has allowed us to understand far more about our environment and once writing was created we could record it for posterity. Good, yes and on the whole admirable as otherwise I would not be typing this and making it possible for people the other side of the world potentially to see it within moments of being published.

Insurance stitch up

I feel very let down by the car insurance industry in much the same was as many people feel about PPI and Banks.

On the evening of the car accident I was spoken to by the police who said in a consoling way that I should not worry about the damage to my car as I would be protected by the Non-Insured Drivers Fund. It was not something I was really worried about at the time and did not give it a second thought.

The car was repaired, but that was borderline as the repair cost was just about the same as the value of the car and with a little juggling the garage did the repairs at a satisfactory cost.

Then the bite, a very big bit. My insurance was renewed and it went from £350 to £1100 in one go. I questioned it and after discussing with them in an open and frank manner on the telephone they said take it or leave it, but we will look into it.

As the lady suicide victim was not a car drive and they had no one to claim from it is not considered as a ‘no fault accident’ and they will just stuff me by getting all their money back over a two-year period by increasing my premium.

They paid out because I was insured, but make the assumption I was in some way at fault.

How the bleeding hell am I in any way shape or form responsible for being involved in this accident? It beggars belief, and I really can only place them in the same category as politicians for their blue faced arrogance in the way in which they stitch up the general public. Somewhere amongst the semantics’ there is sharp practice going on in redefining ‘no fault accident’.

This accident was not foreseeable on my part, it was not based on negligence on my part and I could not take any evasive action. There was a party at fault: the lady that jumped off the bridge. This fact is being conveniently ignored by the insurance company.

My insurance is/was ‘fully comprehensive’ and there now seems doubt in my mind as to what ‘fully comprehensive’ means. It seems sharp practice to just say stuff you we will knock your no claims discount off.

The really niggle bit is the buggers hassled the garage to reduce the cost of the repairs knowing full well they were going to screw me over to reclaim ALL THE COST. Where is the commercial risk? They have taken my money knowing full well they had no intention of paying out.

Back to work

It had to come, that fateful day when I had to return to work. I am sure some of those who knew a little would think it was just a holiday, a break, but I know different.

I am lucky I do enjoy my work, that is the type of work, I am not saying I like the crap that surrounds it: I now despise what has happened to me and I cannot see a way of forgiving them.

Unexpectedly I was greeted when I opened the main door by a lady who has a very nice cense of humour and a whitty tounge that is not hurtful, thought provoking, and nothing else. Not much given away by me – just off sick.

The office was very quite which was good as it allowed me to get sorted without the fear of being caught by inquisitive people.

Offices coffee spots are a strange creation but are only just utilitarian in nature. Busy sometimes, quite other times: sometimes private but mostly not. While you see people regularly only sometimes do you get to know someone outside of your immediate work colleagues, so I was surprised to be asked questions about my plight by a relative stranger who appeared to know than the average person. I naturally do have things to say but at work it’s different – caution, so I resisted to elaborate to much. Yes, glad to be back, shame the group was still having problems but things will improve.

I had returned on a quite day but people in the team arrived and it became clear things had not progress as perhaps the masters had anticipated or the client had expected.

Two people are leaving the group as they are not happy with how we are being run. Other people are very reticent about how the work is being piled onto them as unrealistic deadlines are agreed with no reference to the available resources and no one seems to be getting a grip by managing the project. but it ain’t my worry.

If robing Peter to pay Paul was an Olympic sport we would have gold winners every time.

I was allocated some work and duly started. My aim was just to comply and get through the future and not take on any responsibility greater than for which I am paid. Now, this is difficult as I am a proactive person who will hunt our work and problems and get them sorted. I will look at problems and solve them with elegance and grace but for now I have to degrade my service and skills and not use my ability to the full; but it is essential that I work diligently and grow back to where I want to be.

I know there are going to be rough times in the very near future and I know I am going to be in the firing line but I fear not.

Time to Talk – session two

At the appointed time the phone rang and I was asked whether I was expecting the call. I was relaxed as this was now coming to the end of my fourth week at home, so had been able to keep away from the ignition of my problem that caused me concern.

I pointed this out as it had an impact on the scoring I had made on the standard questionnaire I had completed. I don’t compare the result myself as I, well, just as …

During the conversation I was asked about my feelings and yes I did feel better and looked back at this time as convalescing and I mentioned I had not really valued the benefit of convalescing before but it had had a recognisable benefit for me. Time to think, time to judge, time to plan and all with out the pressure of work and trying to avoid people of pressure.

We talked in general terms and while talking I expressed my real concern with having to let go of my feeling towards the people in the accidents. I dont have graphic flashbacks that stop me in my tracks or need working through at the time before I can move on, but I do have very vivid memories of the situation that I roll forward and backwards while quesioning what happened. I also have generated new images in my mind which are from different positions of the accidents that I was not physically in, but I need to see. I still don’t want to forget them but I need to move on. I am scared to just close the door on them, the events I am happy to forget but the people no.

I said I was surprised how the treatment so far had gone in as much as I had been told to expect one-to-one sessions and was told that is the next stage of the CBT action plan.  I was now sixth on the list and these telephone calls were just a way of monitoring events. A date could not be given yet but soon was as close as she could get.

So I move on.

TV drama

Last night a TV drama was on and it appeared a lady had risked her own life to save someone from a burning car accident. It transpired that the rescuer was in fact the lady who caused the accident by walking out in front of moving traffic to commit suicide and I froze, I physically had shivers from head to toe and I felt emotionally scared. I did not know what to do. The situation and circumstances were different but it had that act of suicide in where I was not able to help.

Second session with the hypnotherapist

I acknowledge I was not hypnotised during the first session and was happy with the feeling of knowing more about me. Again I went with anticipation of not being troubled where the questioning would take me as I felt safe. I knew there was a chance of more crying but that did not phase me as it was a release I had not allowed myself to explore. The crying was not the release it was the inquiring questions and reconciling them with cogent answers that was the release and good. I was given no cause not to be open and honest.

Questions were asked around what good would come from holding onto punishing myself. There is no good, but I must not let go otherwise I have failed those people again. I don’t know them but they are a part of me. They are not close friends or even acquaintances but they have still an active part in my mind. I don’t know their families, I don’t know their particular circumstances and I really don’t know how many they number; BUT they are still a part of me and my history.

It is the case that I could sit down with them now without feeling awkward or embarrassed. I would not judge them, I would not think ill of them and would understand if they did either of these things to me.

It was considered I have a strong biblical attitude towards self-punishment. Not sure whether that is good or bad.

I was asked to manage these feeling by finding somewhere I could keep these memories, as I am not prepared to forget them. I can visit them whenever I choose and get upset if I want, but on my terms. I do not want to share anymore of that as I am still scared of forgetting them entirely which will rock me.  I am scared that time will trick me into forgetting and I will become uncaring about helping people where I can.

It was pointed out that any help I give is good and I should not expect any more than good.

I was starting to think I could let go after all and not suffer any repercussions inflicted on me be me. Help is good, help is needed but it does have boundaries.  I don’t work where people are exposed every day to traumas, so I can afford to protect myself from these feelings for the need to punish myself.

I explained I had a plan set in my minds eye on how to cope with the near to middling future and I was happy to ‘park those feeling’ in a safe, secure and private place and revisit them when I want.

I had to go through the process for EMDR

Later that week I had another appointment but for the EMDR treatment. This was for assessment. The lady appeared very young and I was not sure whether her practice was underpinned and supported by her life’s experiences.  Having empathy with someone, should, I feel, be based upon mutual trust where both parties have something in common.

This happens to be why I don’t trust career politicians who come from wealthy backgrounds and who have never wanted for anything and are happy to prostitute themselves by telling people ‘… well I will move into your area if you vote for me … <GRIN> <GRIN> …’ or even worse when they have the audacity to tell voters they got it wrong …

This consultation was ok but I did not make the same connection with this lady as I had with the first.  I feel the treatment is about being able to work with someone and does not involve personalities. I had difficulty maintaining eye contact with her, not on my part, but from her good self. The process of losing eye contact was very reminiscent of the way in which I would lose eye contact with a particular person I was working with. It was as though he considered I had said enough, and the look said, I don’t believe you so you must move on as I am busy. I am 100% sure this is not the message she was trying to give out, and for that I say sorry in making this analogy but that is what my mind kicked me into thinking.

It was explained the consultations would revolve around being close to but not reliving the events while being distracted by stimulation of the eyes.  The idea is to allow the mind to revisit something and process the locked in memory. The Amygdala and the Hippocampus should play a double act in processing the information during a trauma but for unknown reason don’t always complete the process.

First session with a hypnotherapist

It was not what I thought it would be. The lady was very very searching without being pushy, we talked as though we had known each other a long time. I don’t do that! I am a private person who holds his thoughts close but not always my younger. Recent times have proved that.

When I considered this option I had to say to my self trust the lady, trust the privacy and trust the confidentiality: Without that I can’t make progress. It will not be like to talking to someone where everything you may say will be used against you and considered ammunition for future berating. It will only be put to use to help me: again this is a strange concept to me – letting people pass my guard and to think they may help without having to trade emotions – yes I have to pay, but this is due to me greatly disliking the current me. I had considered ‘…what next … ‘ and did not like the prognosis. Why should this or these events in my life give me grief when I still have a great life and enjoy what I do – except dealing with irrational people who just lie anyway.

But I was stuck just not able to move do this left on my own I was happy in my shell of contentment. I have hid this side of me well!

The customary curtesy were passed and I trusted her straightaway. Background info was captured and the event relived. I can’t, in fact don’t want to simply reprod a word by word account of the session but it transpired that it was thought I just wanted to punish my self for my failure of not helping the people in need.

I described wanting to sit with the lady and hold her hands while on the bridge. When asked about her I could not see her face but saw a whole person with no emotions or movement. I could not speak to her as I had no words that would fit the serenity of the time. I cannot leave here alone to face this future by her self. I would sit with her and just hold her hands in mine and wait for whenever she wanted to leave in a safe way.

An fare question was asked: what good does that do? Or along those lines. Who benefits from this.  I could not answer really other than to say I had failed her, just like the people in the train accident. I should have done more, should have done more – just more.

I don’t know this lady or the people in the train crash but I know the driver of the train had been drinking, he was found guilty of whatever and spent time in Ford Open Prision and died after he was released. I do not know the other people involved in the accident and I don’t know the family history of the lady suicide victim: and I cannot understand how a person can go that far done a path and not find help somewhere. I keep saying I don’t know her and want to but life has moved on and to just forget about her is, I feel, a betrayal of a person.

I said at the top it was not what I thought. I don’t believe I was hypnotised as I just sat an talked to the lady. I sat with closed eyes and cried my heart out. This was the first time I had in all that time spoken about either of the events I had been through.

It was pointed out that after both events I just went to work the next day and did not look back. Well I did make a vow to help others and when it counted I did not.

Many years later I listened to a young chap on a Radio programme describing how he felt after he was involved in a traumatic event an he summed it up far better than I could even now. He said that telling people about what he had been to was like talking to people who just did not understand but nodded at the right time. It would not matter what he said, people just did not get it. That’s me!

So … Now off for three weeks

Three weeks sick leave, after a first week sick leave seemed impossible to get through, as sometimes I feel really good and with no warning I feel lethargic and unresponsive to things around me. I was, and still am happy to be amongst people but not interact with them. Cafes are good place for me to sit and muse about what is and what’s not.

I will still be busy …

Another week another visit

I had an appointment with a different Doctor – not a problem I trust the practice I go to. My distress came through straight away and options for treatment were discussed. Medication – no. Help from the NHS (Time to Talk) – not good – takes to long to start, private EMDR from a recommended councillor – viable but at a cost to me.

I did not want medication to relieve the symptoms. I appreciate they are not addictive, but swapping my moods by the use of drugs is something that is not really me and is not what I want. Mind-drugs in our society – not medication, irrespective of whether they are recreational or not,  are wrong on so many levels that I could not accept them.

This whole area is a difficult as drug usage appears to be out of control and has affected various parts of our family and seems to be penetrating it further. Being boring and not self righteous I have got through life without every taking mind-drugs, or even drinking and it is not until you have to confront it head on in your own immediate family does the message start to appear.

Treatment Plan or Not – that be the question

Initially the Doctor described two options Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). A third option popped-up after speaking to a non-medical person whoes values I trust: Hypnotheropy.

The outcome I want from any one of them is the same: Help me understand why I am feeling like this and then to return me to ‘my normal’. This I acknowledge is difficult as I can’t turn back the clocks to un-live what happened, my memories are naturally contaminated with the elapse of time and consistent uncertianty about what is happening, and the real conundrum: I might not like what I was.

My thought process says to me that I had failed to help people in both accidents. It is that simple. I must not let go of the people who I had failed, otherwise I am letting them down again, letting their familes down. Forgetting them is a cheats way of finding mental wellbeing, and for last 25 odd years since the train crash I had lived with that and thought, it worked then, it will work now – I can cope, I am man. But I had not appreciated I would be up against the most complex piece of apparatus we know of in our current universe – our brain; from which memories are never extinguished but lurk to upset and interfer when a magical trigger is pressed. It builds links to existing memories that we do not know existed and recompliles new meanings at the drop of a hat but it does not always tell you it has done so. Its a crafty little thing!

On research and to the layman the methodology is different and each has a preferred type of client. I considered that any of them would be a good.

A week later …

During this week I was able to relax and think a great deal about what had happened, why it happened all without the pressure of work. More importantly I could think whenever I wanted, which was frequent and would  materialise without any warning and for no apparent reason. I kept myself busy which is not a hard for me.

My sleep was disturbed – often between 4:00am and 4:15am, not so much about the accident but about work and what I was being put through. I would constantly go through the same scenario I had lived through to make sure I would win arguments again. It was futile, but that’s the mind for you. Irrational people do irrational things and they design their irrationality so as to screw you over.

During this week I made a statement for the forthcomingn inquest for the lady suicide victim. Giving the statement was a harrowing experience as I had to take them through the time line of the accident. I was not interrupted and it flowed easily as it was and still is very vivid in my minds eye. It hurt me greatly and both people recognised that. My voice faltered, my pace of delivery often slowed and there were moments of silence where my mind was blank and I needed to search for the next thing to say.  I could relive it at anytime – even now. I was asked a number of questions to expand on my job and such. Later In the week I made a few very minor amendments and returned it the same day.

I returned to my doctor and but still felt very disturbed about work and felt that while the ‘thing time’ was good I did not feel I was making the progress I wanted. During the conversation I openly cried about what state I was in. I said I did not want medication and I was going to solve this problem my self. I say my self but what I meant was I did not want other people to fight my battles.

The problem that surrounded Time to Talk and my treatment was discussed and it was thought I might like to seek private help. A name was suggested and EMDR treatment.

I was signed off unfit to work for three weeks.

Doctor

Not by any overt planning I had managed to line up a counselling session, a doctors appointment and a dentist appointment all in one morning and was still going to be at work by 1:00pm

He was not impressed at all with the Time to Talk session or how they were dealing with my PTSD. We discussed the problems I was having and he gave me a his honest thoughts about what I should do with regards work.

All through the appointment I held back from crying but it was noticeable that I was holding back, so it was agreed that I would take a weeks sick leave and go back the following week.

I telephoned into work and surprised them. I was surprised also.

Time to Talk – session one

I’ll start at the end – I felt underwhelmed and let down.

I went through the questions that I had been told were going to be a part of the tracking process – but not all of them.

We talked about the events of the accident and what was causing me concern at work and how I responded. Partially locked memories were talked about, which I did find interesting, and the necessity to unlock them was discussed.

Very quickly the conversation was brought to an abrupt end and ‘… I’ll call you in three weeks …’

I had been told to expect a number of weekly sessions of counselling at a centre with a specialist

Time to Talk – Induction

I had a scheduled telephone call from TtT team who wanted to go through a set of standard questions I had already completed. There was a problem; I had completed the questions while on holiday and I felt good or rather the catalysis where my problems manifested themselves was not present. This conversation was happening just two days after returning to work and I was suffering as it was as though the Christmas had not happened.

It was decided to redo the questions and then follow up with supporting qualiative questions. During the session I broke down and cried deeply. With help it transpired my hurt and my crossness revolved around not being able to do good for the lady who had committed suicide.

Many years previous I had been involved in a train crash in London while travelling to work on a Saturday. I was not physically hurt but emotionally shaken. I could not help people in the carriage that had rolled down the embankment but I could hear them calling for help. It devastated me. I was healthy, had a small family, a good wife, running a small business and working 60 hours a week as the business was growing. Life for me was really good and in a flash I met, well didn’t, people whose life changed at the flick of a switch. Gone, buggered, stuffed. No matter how I thought of it I could not reconcile my actions with the severity of what had happened and my inability to help.

We were escorted from the carriage to the station and waited out side as we were told transport would be laid on to get us to our destination, I can’t remember who made a quip to the Network Rail chap but he flew at us all and with real aggression bellowed ‘ …. can’t you see we have had a bloody accident …’ We were all shocked and stunned into silence. The group broke up and I went into a cafe opposite and ordered a tea and sat down. I don’t remember paying but I was crying and crying and all I could think of why was it not me. Why had I not been hurt. Why had other people been hurt why were those chosen. Why not me. I even asked other customers why!

I left the cafe and boarded the coach still upset and sat near a window.  As we left the station forecourt our exit was blocked by a very generous driver had abandoned his car across the road so we could not leave.  There were a number of policemen outside around the car who took time to decide what to do and I am just hope it was the confusion of the event that caused their delay.

I know why: Blood. I fear it, but that is no excuse not to help – I felt. I did not stop my life to get help. I went home that day and went to work the on the Sunday. I vowed from that day I would go out of my way, without ‘interfering’, to help people regardless of circumstance. With the suicide lady I had failed completely. Please do tell me it was not fault. My life’s values took a big hit on this day.

The interview continued and at the end the ladies considered thought was I was suffering from PTSD. They would be in contact to arrange one to one counselling and possible group work after she had discussed my situation with her line manager.

Subsequently I received a treatment plan.

Doctors

I went to the doctors and explained the situation at work primarily, but did mention a few of the outside incidents. I mentioned it was a group of student I teach that had urged me to seek help as they had noticed a decline in my well being.

I had to confide in someone through tears while crying and feeling physically sick. This is something I had never done: I have never let this level of personal feelings out to anyone before.

I was helped with empathy and care. I was referred to the Time to Talk team as there is no in-house counselling service: This had been cut in April 2011.

Life’s trip-you-ups

We, as a family, have had nine deaths to contend with over a 14 month period. Our house has burst at the seems to include six adults and two dogs. Our finances have been stretched accordingly.

Family have died, close friends have died, work friends have died, neighbours have died and friends of our children have died.

Our children have been in car accidents, their partners have had problems and my bank account was hacked.

If our life was a soap opera you would not believed the plots that we have been through.

All of this plays its toll on your ability to deal with life in everyday situations. Enter stage centre irrational people and my daily toil started to flake at the edges.

While at Work and play

I enjoy my work greatly. This is the third major change in the tool set engineering had for me to use. I went from pencil, pen and ink to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and now 3D modelling. This last stage is far far bigger than just modelling. It involves the integration of external data into a homogenous, seem less data set.

While there are other organisations who are both further advanced with the technical aspects of the work and the ethos behind there working practice I have independently kept pace with development, so it is with a little trepidation I consider myself to be knowledgeable – not complete but knowledgeable.

I have had great support from my immediate line manager but in essence that is where it stopped.

It appears to me that I am not trusted, not valued and considered to have no skills suitable for the work. I have hit brick walls everywhere I turn and with the new regime in place who are even less receptive I have gone into a mental meltdown through trying to fight my corner for the company.

The meltdown is me getting very agitated, cross, verbally aggressive in arguments and dismissive of others. This was happening more regularly and while those who believed my path forward was valid to my betters considered I was an impediment to progress. I have already described the situations and  the ways I feel I have been treated but not the frustration and internal termile it caused me.

Adding to this incendiary device that was me were a good number of life’s rich trip-you-ups.

Is it wrong for a chap to cry?

NO!

On the night of car accident I cried on the side of the road while in the pitch blackness. I cried in front of the two ladies who comforted me after they told me I had hit the lady. I cried in front of the policemen who released my car so I could drive home. I told the policemen that I would cry tomorrow and the day after and the day after; and I did.

I cried in front of a chap at work, but I held back my tears when another chap at work sighed with incredulity and told me in front of a small group of coworkers, ‘… well it is not as if you killed her …’ as though this was an everyday event and I should just get over it. I walked away and cried.

Not all crying is visible. My heart aches and I cry inside. I see things and hear things and I cry inside. I have very little control over it, which I accept.

I really do not want to be amongst people who are not compassionate. I do not want sympathy, I have to recover on my own terms. I do not want to feel beholden to people so as to stop them from taken advantage of me – yes. I feel some have.

I enjoy solitude more than ever.

Strangers are good, they know me not.

Irrational people are a pain in the Arse

I don’t believe this is a medical condition and I am not sure whether it is a life choice but people who are irrational in the workplace are a danger to themselves, a danger to other people and a danger to organizations.

If you ever have the misfortune to encounter an irrational person, whether socially or in the workplace the best course of action is to have empathy and not get drawn into debate with them.

If you can’t avoid them don’t trust what they say as they will use any argument to win you over irrespective of the facts that are set before them. It gets worse, they often don’t remember exactly what they have said and if you need to have the conversation again, say to confirm something, they will dish out another set of incoherent, irrelevant information that you are to regard as facts and expect you, for a second time, to agree with them.

Not only are they a pain in the arse, they are very debilitating, and often have to be finally corrected by their superiors. Alerting superiors is a whole different ball game and strategic playoffs have to happen; which in turn destroys relationships and groups.

I now appreciate the above, but it was my belief that what I was trying to do for the organization was correct, but it was being intimated by negative work practices, it was not. No real rational professional explanation could be offered to me, and was why, with hindsight of being diagnosed with PTSD, the cause for me to become very vocal and a verbally aggressive at work.

Some people on the outside might simply dismiss this as a personality clash but it was not. I believe there was an ulterior motive from the start and I just happened to be in the wrong mindset at the time.

The situation is this

The profession and industry I work in is adverseral by nature.  It is formally managed by contracts that have to be met. No problem with that at all. Contracts are negotiated and meant to be equatable both ways. I.e.  ‘I will pay you to do exactly that’ – equal both ways. You do ‘that’ you get paid. When delivery is different, and this is often with agreement of both parties, then adjustments are made. Again equitable both ways. When parties are in disagreement then it has to be debated and the stronger argument will win else litigation will ensue.

This rational approach extends into engineering design as well, where past experience along with robust design and British Standard et all all mean rationalality prevails.

All of the above takes place with rational argument as being the tool of choice. So I have been exposed to many years of rational working experiences. I can cope with this.

I do not like irrationality, it is incomplete thought, it is lazy, it is misleading, it leads to conflict, it divides groups, it does not get a job done and is costly.

Crunch Time …

Crunch time came for me when the new contract chap was openly told in the office he would be doing the next big project that was coming in at the end of the next month.

Apparently no one else in the immediate management levels knew anything about this so was a big surprise to them as well. Coupled with the fact that the office is still upto it’s ears with the current job. But that’s life.

Within minutes of this open declaration I needed to hand over work to new chap as a matter of course and was interrupted by the manager and questioned about what the chap was working on and then questioned by the chap on whether I had the authority to distribute work at all.

Seeing red I carried out a controlled and dignified explosion saying I was quite upset that detrimental collusion could take place in this fashion, and left to return to my desk. It happened to be near the end of the day so clearing up and leaving did not stur anyone.

That happened to be my last day there. Not by design I should add.

The Role I play

From Statistics about the output of this country (UK) it is stated we are underperforming. That is the workforce are underperforming. When digging deeper into this fact it transpires it is down to skills shortages.

A part of the role I had was to help and support staff, not just with the modelling process and the new software but with engineering.

There are a number of new people with less than a years modelling and engineering skills in our group. So we have an identified skills shortage in the office so to be actively discouraged from helping these people caused me concern on two counts. Firstly these people need the help, and secondly without the help the project will suffer.

Different techniques were used: coming over and standing on the edge of the conversation with no intention of joining in. Interrupting conversations by asking vacuous questions, asking for information and sometimes for a full status updates.

Over a relatively short period of time my overall role was cut. But I was not told someone else was now doing ‘that’. Many times I would only know as a result of hearing ‘that’ being discussed at a level of detail I should have been involved with. New contract staff were employed even though a cull of contract staff had only happened two months previous.

So in summary my workload was being changed behind my back, other people were being redeployed without my knowledge. The skills I was supposed to be imparting to others was being discouraged and the deadline end dates not changing. The problems I had identified and dismissed are coming to pass as I described.

Working day

At first I just pushed through and ignored my feelings. Work was different not only because of the new sensations I was experiencing but due to the nature of the new work we were doing.

Often conversation would take place within earshot about things I was directly involved with and I would seethe while managers managed not resolve issues in an appropriate fashion: all they did was to push the problem onto someone else or even worse simply change the problem into something else.

It was easy to get answers but became very difficult to get a straight answer and after a time it became evident that answers I was given were not correct but no one had bothered to tell me. The impact of the changes were often not thought through so frustration coupled with distrust flavoured my attitude.

I accept much of what I was doing was new to me but the structures and processes I developed adequately allowed the project to be undertaken efficiently. However, having the goal posts moved behind my back meant they did not. Annoyingly I was often not party to the discussion, and really kept in the dark. This could only be by design. More frustration.

A good move was made by the organisation by getting the resource levels increased – late but good. This allowed more work to be undertaken. However and a big however the working process in a modern design office were not understood. This coupled with the acceptance that the base information we had been given and forced to work with was in fact not as good as those making the original plans had thought.

For the record: say an A1 paper based drawning can only be worked on by one person at a time. Information may have to be drawn and redrawn as the design process evolves. This process stop being viable 30 years ago and finally stopped at least 20 years ago. In the 3D model world the model is worked and worked and an A1 drawing is a product of many people working concurrently. So when I was told to organise people to work in the paper based drawing style, and not listened to when I tried to find the rationale behind the instruction caused me anguish beyond anything I had experienced before. It was idiocy!

Feelings and thoughts

I was distressed greatly, but life had to continue. I had to organise repairs on the car so I worked from home the following day. This meant an awkward questions I could answer in private.

The chap I spoke to at the insurance company was unable to comprehend the situation and could have only been working from a script as after I had described what had happened in as much as a lady had died as she had jumped off a motorway bridge and I had struck her, al be it not the first, asked was anyone hurt.

When I received the typed version it was different from the dictated version, anyway …

I returned to work on the following Monday as though nothing had happened to me.

I did feel I had betrayed the lady. All I knew of her was she had jumped and died. There was a note and it was being checked for authenticity before it could be confirmed she had committed sucide.

Me Just and …

I mentioned an accident, yes an accident with a difference!

A lady decided to end her life and I was driving one of the cars that struck her. It was at night and dark. Dark with the absence of light and a dark emotionally.

Having driven over ‘something’ without seeing it (been told it would have only been visible for less than a second at the speed and in the lighting conditions) I had to stop quickly.

I was told what I had driven over by two ladies in the car I parked behind me. The police confirmed I had struck a person when they inspected my car. Blood and tissue were found underneath the car and damage done to the under tray.

I was shaken up, not physically, but mentally and after telling the police I was safe to drive I left the scene.

Frustrated is an understatement

Some people became very frustrated with the working practices that were prevalent. Fellow people were also suffering at the hands of a few but time and time again efforts to rectify the situation was simply thwarted.

Typically, managers would not entertain the fact we did not have sufficient time.  We did not have the correct resources to do the amount of work we had been given as it was far greater than the originally estimated. It appeared to me the was a situation of collective denial where it was considered the experienced staff were wrong irrespective of the facts.

Unachievable demands were regularly made and as a subsequence some people started to only answer direct questions and close conversations down as soon as they could so as not to convey any ‘bad news’.

This is contrary to open communications that is necessary in a design office.

Unauthorised changes – or simply put, chaos

Change is good. Change I consider to be progress. I like change and in engineering it is our life blood. It has to be structured, it has to coordinated, people have to be accountable, and therefore audit trails are critical: Most of all, there has to be leadership that is clear, decisive and transparent.

Some consider it only to apply to those they report to above in the chain of command and are happy to let their teams work on in blind ignorance but still have the audacity to tell them they screwed up and it is actually their fault for not knowing what is happening.

So, when different groups are left to casually do what they want and deliver what they feel they can get away with, a recipe for disaster is the resultant brew; and everyone suffers, right from the lowly designers, through the engineering disciplines, the project managers, project directors and the heaviest player in the game – the client, who pays for us all.

Hard earned experience

From early on it became apparent that the customisation of this blended software had not been done. When I raised this issue I was ignored. No matter how explicit I was in arguing my case I was just knocked back and told use it.

I asked many times for the project handbook or company guidelines – that should exist and should describe the anticipated working practices, but nothing materialised until a casual conversation revealed it did not exist.

Jumping ahead a little, and this is the nub of my problem, when other senior people had to acknowledge my sentiment about this and a lot of other related issues, it became clear that, on the whole I was correct. BUT by then the damage had been caused as I had slowly became persona non grata and by some not worth the salary I was earning.

Daily life in a design office

The design process relies on good, open, honest and straightforward discussions so the object under consideration can be ‘designed’ with the input of all disciplines. I spoke with a chap who was instrumental in the bid process to check what we had to deliver: it was 2d drawings in PDF format. Nice and straightforward, just new software to contend with.

Suddenly it became a 3D project … No allowances in the budgets for this new style of working were included, and after many discussions it was stated by the Project Manager it was going to happen and the managers would simply have to take the financial hit.

No problem there then I thought, I am not involved with that side of the equation but expenditure was set to exceed income from day one.

The software we are currently using is a blend of two packages very nicely merged into the organisation of the data and then its creation and maintenance. It is good, very good, but not perfected. A major part of the process happens in the background. Provided a range of tasks and design relationships are understood by the team

We are now working in a shared networked based 3D model where geospatial accuracy is critical. The upside is it releases far more information earlier in the design process, but the downside is far greater amount of upfront work is needed at an earlier stage in the design process as well as more technically demanding drafting – modelling now.

We have our teams split into a number of regional offices who, including us, are new to this particular software blend. So I expected a bumpy time as coordinating the 2D work was something I have done many many times and would not cause me concern, but 3D is different, partly because new modelling techniques were required by me but primarily because the seven out of the eight regional offices were new to this blended software approach and there was no budget for it!

The situation is …

It is not unreasonable to expect a certain level of professionalism from an engineering department of a large company. Many of the staff have professional qualification and have codes of ethics they are deemed to automatically adhere to.  Even those people who are not members of professional organisation pride themselves of a professional attitude and most people share that professionalism in their own lives away from their companies.

While it is in vogue for a company not to give references to employee’s, the lost sentence on such a letter ‘… is honest, reliable and trustworthy’ is sorely missed.  Perhaps it is an indication that people are truly not honest, not reliable and are untrustworthy, (or any permutation) and claims to the contrary are simply un-defendable.

So, now having been through the last six or so months it should not have been a surprise to find characters that should not be given a reference for their own well-being.

Perhaps I trusted people too much. Its in my nature to trust until proven otherwise: so I got caught, and it had catasophic implications for me.  Not in the sence of truely life threatening but mentally. My core values – honesty, relaibility and trustworthness have been called into personal doubt. Why should I trouble with these when this is the outcome. Should I just abandon them? throw them to the wind and see how I fare.

My solution was, to withdraw, not partake, avoid the architects of my downfall: But only after I passed a brink or realisation that I was being royally stuffed by people who I trusted.

It changed when

When a new project arrives into a design office much work has already been done. It is a complex process of preparation. The brief has to be understood explicitly, the deliverables have to be identified, skills gaps identified and programmes created to hit the target dates. Without being churlish the cost to client is needed and often a commercial department will cast its eye and bend the cost according to the prevailing financial constraints of both the market and the company along with risk aversion considerations.

At the point of handover a gap analysis is done to identify any changes so the deliverables can be reassessed and where necessary new budgets or early warnings can by issued. All this becomes the embryo for the designers to work from.

Work can start as everyone knows what is expected of them, where they fit into the scheme of work, what they have to produce and the design relationship their work has with other designers to ensure coherent delivery.

If any of the above is not in place, or people are not informed at the start or, the real killer, not informed of changes along the way then the tower will crash.

In my experience only lip service is paid to spirit of teams and what they have to offer so the order of the day is to look after number one.

Time to reflect

For the over two years now I have been involved with researching and implementing a new method of work that is to become the norm in my industry. Having discussed what I was trying to implement with a number of well-informed people out side of the company I work for, it has been suggested that my plans are about two years ahead of what our competitors are doing.

As such I feel quite warm in the knowledge that I am at least on target if not more.  This is a good place to be!

I have received praise from a good number of people I have worked for over this period as I have had to fight tooth and nail to get my perspective on the future across. Where the light-bulb moment happened in various places it was felt a benificial approach was there and should be adopted. However, there is still reticence towards my view of the world.  I can live with that as I just remind myself that it took a lot of debate to convince people the earth was not flat.

This worked finished and I returned to doing ‘normal duties’ but still developing my thoughts etc.

Enough rambling, now …

I have set the scene that I am in and will now deal with the gritty details.

I want to do this as I believe I am not alone in what I think is invidious persecution of people who have served companies well only to be shafted by people specifically brought in to rape and pillage whatever they see with impunity.

Some people not only have to win …

‘It is not good enough to win, everybody else should lose’ is the unstated mantra of a new manager. He is quite happy to ride roughshod over anyone provided the mayhem and debris he creates does not impeded his vision of what success actually looks like.

Many people have been forced to deliver sub-standard work simply so his group can say we crossed the winning line first.  If we can do it you can.

It’s not all about me

I have recently been diagnosed with PTSD after I was involved in a car accident five months ago.  It has taken all that time to develop into a stage where I need counselling.  For two and a half months I carried on not really knowing there was a problem.  Yes, I was sad, yes, I thought about the event everyday and dependent on how busy and what I was concentrating on it waxed and waned.  It did not really get in the way until the natural pressure of work on a new project built up and new managers came on the scene.

Suffering at the hands of …

I am sure I am just an average person, married, 2.4 children and a dog, nothing special at all. I fit into life and on the whole was happy. Hmm! I hope you noticed ‘was’.  All changed recently and I have become a tinder box at work that does go off.  I am just the fuel, others ignite me, for what has been suggested by others in the company are hidden reason.

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