Friday, August 26, 2016

Asking for directions


First off, don't panic. Everything is fine here. Well, unless something very bad has happened and I'm currently enjoying a sulphur and lava hot tub with Old Nick. Now, wouldn't that be amusing for a smug-arsed atheist? :-)

I bet the Devil has loads of synergistic management paradigms warmed up and ready.
You thought it was pitchforks? Ha, idiot mortal! That's *so* 12th century. Welcome... to the Management Farm. Take a desk, you'll be needing it. 
Got your clipboards and iPads ready? Good.... Oh, the Wi-Fi may drop out on you and do write quickly, because the ink tends to evaporate. Don't worry... there will be a test later.
Now, must dash! Catch you proles later!! I've outsourced the training to XPRG. If anyone wants me, I'll be in the executive boardroom with the Sally the Succubus.  
Moving on... :-)

Okay, weak comedy aside - and I should add a disclaimer that in no way I am qualified to make judgement calls (excuse the pun) on religion. With that out of the way... Speaking personally, I feel that Hell is something you can carry with you. It's not flames, damnation and punishment - well, maybe two out of three (hint, not flames). Damnation, if you will, is that personal torment. Perhaps, even, punishment we build for ourselves, 

Wise words, Mr Bloch
The above piccy and de rigueur meme line make sense, at least to someone who skirted the sulphurous shores back in the day. What I would add, is: don't stop, unless it's to ask for directions.

Back when I was struggling under the dark cloud of depression, there were things I tried to make it go away. None of them, I should add, helped. I tried throwing myself into work and ignoring it (Nope!). I tried distraction techniques of watching films or gaming ('Errk! Wrong answer, Hans!'). I wondered if 'going all the way' - from a trans perspective would help, but it didn't. The latter just made me question everything and send me further into a tailspin....

So, negativity out of the way, what did help? Learning from friends (a wave to the Chams massive is due here) who'd Been There, Got the T-shirt and Survived certainly helped. I didn't feel alone so much. Okay, I wasn't cured, but I think it's about little steps in the right direction.

What else? Exercise and company. The latter I've mentioned and the former just meant getting out into nature. Even if it was an hour's walk to the sarnie stall at work. I wasn't at my desk, I was out seeing the world.

Writing helped. Not about the depression, although I'd be a liar if I said it's dark shadow hasn't crossed these pages once or twice. Shit happens, as they say. :-) Writing short stories, or even writing blog posts let me explore ideas and tackle subjects I couldn't talk about.

Although I found it tough, going to the doctors was the thing that helped me the most. Validation, if you will, that I wasn't going nuts. That people do fall over (so to speak) and we don't always bounce back. With time, and after some meds to level me out a little (man, did they help take the worst away), a rather impersonal therapy (CBT) course was the last part of the map I needed to get myself out of the Hell I'd made.

There wasn't some 'morning has broken' moment, in that I felt cured and the sun was shining. Instead, the slow dawn of Spring; where the dark episodes became less and less. I'd been warned that depression is a tricky beast and I may find the bad feelings would come back. They did, but this time, the CBT course I'd struggled to take in, the ideas and techniques were my counters.
Oh, why bother. You know it'll fail....then you'll be in trouble and the shouting will start...
You don't know that. It's all up in the air, right now.  Let's just play it by ear and let it all flow past, like so much flotsam on the tide. Relax and just enjoy the now. The weather's good and you'll be having breakfast when you're back from taking the dogs.... 

If I had any advice to give, I would say this: get help if you're suffering. It may feel like hell right now, but you can recover. It's not forever and if you slip back, that's cool. Be kind to yourself, as you're doing all you can. Just keep edging out of the darkness as best you can. Stay engaged with those you love and who love you. Keep getting out and don't listen to the dark cloak that wants you to lie like a corpse. I won't lie and say this is easy, but living isn't. It's hard and it's a battle, but you'll win.

Good luck,

Friday, August 19, 2016



In a moment of madness I had a spot of tidying up. Not a purge, dear reader, but a clearance of clutter to dispel the debris. Or, as is sometimes said in Nottingham: getting shot of yer crap. :-)

While clearing my bedside table, I found a small tin that contains a set of cuff links from long ago. Much as said items have some sentimental value, there's a little more to it.

Going back to the late 90s, I used to have a large travel trunk. I felt the need to use the term 'travel trunk' to avoid any smutty laughter about the size of my trunk, or if it's well handled, etc. Yes, Carry on Blogging, by all means. :-P

Junk in the trunk or frocks in the box?
So, said trunk sat empty for many years and through an odd arrangement of some old curtains and a sheet of wood, it doubled as a rest for my inkjet printer. Yes, a printer so old that the cartridge didn't cost more than the printer itself. :-) Skip on a few months and shoes, dresses, a wig and make-up began to amass in there. It was a safe place to keep everything and very far from prying eyes. On rare days alone, I'd unpack what I had and grab an hour here, or an brief morning there, being able to express all of who I was. Oh, and wish I was better at make-up :-)

After Wee Man was born, like all kids, he was drawn to anything he couldn't get into.

"Why is this shut?"

Because the edges are sharp. 

"What's inside?"

Nothing by old curtains. 

"When can I have a look?"

You can't because I don't know where the key is...

Then when we had upstairs done (not a euphemism)  I moved all of my other clothes into the new wardrobes and spare cupboard. Now, Wee Man, and later, Little Miss, could use the treasure chest - as they called it - to keep toys, or indeed, old curtains.

Rather than my Lynn-wear being trapped, it's now hung in wardrobes or tucked away in draws. I don't worry about the Ever Lovely Mrs J seeing what's in there, because she's cool with it. The only thing now, is the occasional worry that the kids will have a look through our cupboards and wonder why there are two shoe collections, four wigs and a large grey bag that Dad always takes with him, when he goes out on Thursdays.

Mrs J and I made a deal with the kids that we'd respect their privacy and that the should respect ours. They're good souls and I'm hopeful curiosity won't get the best of them. It would, I feel, be somewhat of a Pandora's Wardrobe and I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

With my clothes hung up and stored safely, I'm thankful. If I look back to those 90s memories, I doubted that I'd ever be in a place where my lovely wife would be okay with who I am. If I look further back to before I met her and before I'd managed to accept who I was, I doubted I'd meet anyone who'd understand. So, all things being equal, I've quite a bit to be thankful for.

Now, fingers crossed eh? ;-)

Take care,