Going out for a meal: surprisingly traumatic

The first part of this post was written last night, while I was still anxious; the last part was written this morning.

Another example of the fun I have with mental (and, this time, physical) health.

I went out for a lovely meal this evening. I stupidly had dessert as well (though no starter). I’ve spent the last hour feeling strongly nauseous and with an upset stomach. Continue reading


Death, detachment and the subconscious

My grandfather passed away on Friday night. He’d been very frail for a couple of years, we knew he was dying and his doctor asked him earlier in the week if he’d prefer to die at home or in hospital; he died peacefully in his sleep two days later.

I’ve not mentioned this particularly widely because I’m ok; I don’t need people’s sympathy or condolences. Aside from at my sister’s weddings, I’ve not seen my father’s parents in about 20 years, partly because I fell out with my grandmother in the late 1990s for 15 years,  so the only contact I had with them was tersely civil thank you letters in reply to birthday and Christmas cards. The combination of the geek-detachment I have, of my anxiety and of being on a low dose of antidepressants means that my main conscious emotions are mild anxiety at the prospect of travelling up to his funeral in Leeds and mild frustration at the break in routine. I do realise this is unsympathetic and somewhat inhuman of me — and I do also feel sympathy for my family and a little sadness that I won’t ever see him again — but he is someone who, whilst I loved him as a part of my family, hasn’t really been much of a part of my life for almost half of it and I’m generally detached about things like this in any case.

It would seem, however, that my subconscious is not quite so heartless and detached or as good at managing grief.

Nainie (my maternal grandmother) passed away five years ago now and, by my teens, I was much closer to my mam’s parents than to dad’s. My conscious, bless it, appears to have conflated the suppressed and barely-experienced emotions about grandparental deaths into an odd dream last night. I dreamt that, for some reason (I forget the backstory), I was walking into 1950s or ’60s Dolgellau and had the opportunity to walk into Nainie’s sweet shop. She didn’t know who I was, obviously, and I didn’t have any predecimal money, so I couldn’t buy anything, which upset me, but I did get to say hello and shake her hand, which I subsequently related to my cousin, who was also there (but in the now, not on the 20th-century side of whatever portal I’d travelled through). I woke up actually crying, something I don’t remember experiencing before.

Evidently, I’m not the remote, disconnected, unemotional bastard I thought I was.

(Just to reiterate the point I made at the start, I’m fine — I don’t need sympathy or condolences. The therapy I sought has been achieved by writing this post, even if noone out there ever reads it.)

The image of the Graveyard at St. Michael & All Angels in Newburn, Tyne and Wear, is taken by and copyright (© 2010) of Andrew Curtis. The image of Eldon Square, Dolgellau is taken by and copyright (© 2012) of Trevor Littlewood. Both images were found on Geograph® Britain and Ireland, a project to create CC BY-SA 2.0-licensed images of the UK and Ireland, indexed by OS grid reference.

Signal failure: on train delays and panic attacks

Some of this post might be a little graphic about physical illness. You probably don’t want to be eating whilst you read this.

So, last night, all the signals failed between Waterloo and Clapham, meaning trains were completely fucked; a friend of ours over the road spent an hour to travel the eight-minute journey between the two.

For over 20 years now, I have suffered from panic disorder. If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, you probably can’t understand the crippling nature of them. Continue reading

On stress relief

A Japanese Zen gardenSome things I need to remember about working in a deadline-based industry. (This will probably be one of many posts on this subject during the current big-build project.)

  1. If you don’t push back when you have too much on, people will assume you can manage it all.
  2. People don’t mind when you do push back, provided you’re clear and transparent. Being able to suggest when you could get something done, or who else might be able to do it, is merely a bonus.
  3. If you have something to focus on and get regular interruptions from people, let them know in advance when you’re going to be busy. Manage them and you won’t need to manage yourself.
  4. You might be snowed under but, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking 5 or 10 minutes to sit somewhere quiet and do something unrelated (like reading about volcanoes) makes a whole world of difference to how productive you’ll be afterwards.
  5. When building websites for a living, no matter how badly things go wrong, it’s a near certainty that no-one will die as a result.

You know all these things, Owen. For gods’ sake, remember them!

The photo of a Japanese Zen garden used above is taken from the Wikimedia Commons and is dual-licensed under GFDL 1.2 and CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported.


Now my head’s noticeably better (though I still have to try visiting family afar), it’s easy for me to forget that I do still suffer from IBS.

Three bottles of orange and passion flavoured J2O at Retro for Freakcity’s third birthday celebrations last night and I’ve spent half of today on the loo.

And still people try to tell me I should eat brown bread not white because more fibre is good. Like fuck it is!

Owen’s grand journey (part the first)

Just before I left the office (late) on Friday evening, Andy (my boss) suggested it’d be good for me to travel some over the week off. I was planning to travel some anyways, cos doing things I find difficult whilst on the meds is pretty important (as Nix () mentioned privately yesterday as well).

But Andy’s suggestion seemed kinda fun: go to (say) six disparate points on London’s public transport network and Flickr phonecam pics of the station roundels to show I’ve actually been there.

I quite liked the idea so (as the lad who was meant to be visiting wasn’t too well) today I did some traveling.

First, I went from Ilford to Stratford by one, Stratford to Canary Wharf by Jubilee line, Heron Quays to Island Gardens by DLR. Then I walked through the foot-tunnel to Maritime Greenwich and wandered round there for a bit. Took the overground to London Bridge, then back out to East Croydon, whence I took a tram to Wimbledon, where I did a little shopping and bought some lunch before taking the District line to West Brompton.

Wandered round Brompton cemetary for a while, cos I’ve never been there before and lots of the graves are really cool. Got a bit distracted by a little near-sacrilege (I’ve been to saunas that have been much less busy!) and bumped into a really hot French boy as I was leaving, who I so should have taken somewhere discreet, rather than helping him pic blackberries and then leaving without even giving him my number.

Anyways, took the Silverlink to Willesden Junction (cos it was just there and I’d just missed a District line train to Earl’s Court) and Bakerloo‘d (eventually — do they never run trains on that damn line?!) to Trafalgar Square, thence to Retro.

Had a coupla drinks with Jen (), Rob (), Martin, Ryan (still überphwoarsome), Gareth (), Ste (Jen’s other husband) and Jo (Jen’s sister). Then wandered up to Leicester Square station to take the Pic with Rob and Jen, changed at Holborn for the Central line to Liverpool St and overgrounded home. Via tsips ;o)

Very impressed with myself. Now to see if I can (a) get out of bed and actually move tomorrow after all this bloody exercise and (b) meet up with Jen and people to go shopping in Wood Green the morrow.

Anyways, Sex and the City just finished, so I’m off to bed.

I’ll be editing I’ve edited this post (not least to link to the phonecam pics once they’re on Flickr) in the morning. Ciao for now!

Flickr sets:

Quick update

New meds are much better when I take them in the evening with food. Took them a little late last night, and haven’t had as much sleep as I’d like (had a bit of a drama last night that I sha’n’t go into in public), so I’m a bit shaky this morning, both physically and emotionally, but so far so good.

No idea what the fuck I can wear today that’ll be cool enough for the heat, but good enough to deal with thunderstorms later. Can’t wear canvas shoes if they might get wet, after all.

Work is being so-so. A rant to my boss on Wednesday (about one of my colleagues who hadn’t done what I thought he’d said he had) turned into him railing about my punctuality, which pissed me off muchly, as he knows that it’s not as simple as me getting up too late (and public transport in this city collapses completely when it gets too warm!) and making reasonable adjustments for my disabilities is something my employers are mandated to do under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Though, for me, the key issue is that my hours are broadly predictable, I let people know when I’m running late (with an ETA) and I always work more than my 37,5 hours a week!

Also, I’ve been booked, for the last two days, to scope, design and build a content-managed extranet for one of our larger clients, though I spent all of Wednesday on the client–server app thing and all of yesterday on NS&I, having swapped today’s and yesterday’s time around in the schedule.

Anyways, must dash, otherwise I’ll be late again, which would be bad.