Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - The Review thingy

Well 2013 is nearly done, and I won't miss it- although it's made sure that it won't be forgotten until the autumn at the earliest.

It's not been all bad, but it's been harsh and hard, and I have no desire to repeat it.

I started the year in a house that had been broken into, causing psychological issues throughout the family that linger to this day, and in a job that was draining the joy from my soul.

We are still in the same house ( we don't do running away ) and I am thankfully in a different job. 

We are all doing more than ok, something that I am very thankful for, and I am lucky to have a great many good people in my life ( some physically, others over the web ).

In a few of the previous years I have written a "thanks" list to acknowledge the people in my life but this year, I believe that they know who they are and I'm just going to say : thank you.

My wife, Su, and my two sons need a mention because without them I would be nothing - thank you, I love you with all my heart and soul.

So, 2013 has done enough to mean that 2014 isn't going to be easy as it could have been ( I won't go into details) but having got through 2013 I have a good feeling about 2014....bring it on!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Why I hate being off work sick...

Right now I am suffering with a viral chest infection, which is fecking agony as it is aggravating the damage done by plueresy a few years ago. It's worrying me but that for me and the doctor to discuss when I next see them.

But that is not what this post is about (but the context is required I feel).
You see that above has meant that I have missed 3 days of work last week and am likely to miss a few more in the upcoming week.
This I hate.
You see I hate the idea that I am letting anyone down.
I hate the idea that this, which is beyond my control (and let's be fair I have done everything I could have done [apart from moving to a continent where the temperature never gets anywhere near zero] to avoid this current bout of illness) , is going to cast a shadow over the hard work I have put in trying to establish a good name for myself.
I hate the fact that whilst I am unable to get myself to work or be in a fit enough state to work that my colleagues have to effectively double up on what they are doing day to day. They are good people, who won't grumble too much about it, but that's not the point, my illness makes their lives a little bit harder.

The daft thing is that I am only ever off sick when I really cannot perform my duties, such a now - this is not just a bit of a cold, a snuffle or the manflu, it's nasty, it hurts and if it gets any worse it's going to border on getting scary.

I hope they know that this is not something trivial and that as soon as I am able I will be back at the coal face.

I know that the above post may sound slightly self pitiful but it's not intended to be and I needed to externalise this somehow.

Friday, 23 August 2013

A bit of an explanation...

My last few posts might seem a strange thing to share.

I wanted to share my thought process when I'm having a lapse in my OCD management to try and show what it's like in my head - horrible.

It's helped me, I hope it might help someone else.

I hope you who read them haven't lost any respect for me.

Now I'm feeling great and messing with some Norsk coz I can :-)

OCD & Languages - sorted for good

I swear this is the last I'm going to say about this but what I thought was sorted was actually one step short of sorted.

That last step has been made.

What was that step?

Realising that I don't have to choose. I can happily flit between as many languages as I damn well want to, I can never be great at speaking any of them and do you know what?
That is absolutely fine.
In fact, not just fine, that's how it is and what it is is perfectly imperfect!

Super Happy Gareth!

One day,I'll be able to write that in at least three different tongues ;-)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

OCD & Languages - Sorted!


It has taken 3 days, a lot of reading of useful material that I have gathered over the years of group and individual therapy, and trusting my gut.

So the answer to part one of the question is that my desire to learn a language is a healthy one,it's the compulsive desire to be perfect at it with items inherent internal punishment that's not.
So I'm not giving up learning a language.

So the next part of the question is which language?

Now reaching this decision involved thinking about it a lot, then spending a long time purposely not thinking about it and avoiding the question all together, and then trusting my gut.

It's German.

I'll get to why in a minute.

So why not Welsh, Norwegian or nothing at all?

1. not learning a language would have made me miserable.
2. My desire to learn Welsh is driven by a self loathing fuelled compulsion to be as Welsh as I possibly can be. It sets unrealistic goals that can never be achieved and it makes me miserable.
3.My drive to learn Norsk is fuelled by a compulsion to be as Viking as possible - which is daft because apart from loving Vikings and their culture I'm not one (outside of my mind) - and again leads to me being miserable.

So why German?
- quite a bit of what I learnt at school stuck so it's familiar to me.
- I have no desire to be perfect at it.
- I have a member of my family that is fluent and has offered to help me learn.
- I want to understand Rammstein lyrics.
And,this is the most important bit, 
It's was my gut decision. 
Under no pressure to pick one, my "gut" chose German.

For the first time in years (and I mean years) I am completely at ease with that choice.

I've done it.
It can be done.
Obsessive compulsions can be beaten.
Never give up. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Languages & OCD : What if.....

What if the real victory over this is to stop?
To stop making a concerted effort to learn a language and just forget about it?
Maybe the whole drive to learn a language is a compulsion?
I can link at least two of my drives to OCD faulty thinking in part.
One I can't.

This casts some doubt on the what if.

And creates a bit of an never ending vicious cycle.

And if none of it's fun, because of this cycle, should I keep doing it?
Would stopping be letting the OCD win or would carrying on feed it?

These are questions I need to find an answer for.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Languages & OCD - the fight goes on....

I thought I had cracked my language learning OCD cycle last week and, whilst I had made progress, I'd not quite cracked it.
But I think I have now.
Which language I'm learning isn't the issue, it's the feeling that I have to be learning one.
I do want to learn a language.
But I shouldn't feel that I have to be, or that I should be able to do it perfectly.
That's what the problem is.
So what do I do?
Well I go back to being happy with the fact that it's taken me 7 years to complete the first 7 instalments of a beginners course of SaySomethingInWelsh (excellent course by the way) and crack on with learning it be wise it's really the one that I wish I could speak fluently.
But every now and then, if I fancy having a break and dabbling German, Norsk or anything then I will - without having to ditch any other option.
You might think this sounds simple.
For you maybe it is( I hope it is).
For me, it's not and I might no succeed but I'm going to try.
Having a healthy goal is a big help.
So here it goes.

Lesson 8 of SSIW here I come :-)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Just a quick thought....

The good people who made great sacrifices during both world wars would probably not approve of the way modern Great Britain is. But they would also not agree with you not attending church, the language you use when expressing your distress,your choice of clothes or the music you listen to. Oh, and the list of things you couldn't say in public was a damn site longer that it is now.
Before you use the past to add weight to your political standpoint get the facts straight!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Scrupulosity - my ongoing battle

This post may not come as a surprise if you've read some of my previous posts or indeed follow me on twitter (@garethdawson), but in any case here it is.

I have OCD. I've had it all my life, in hindsight, and I live with it rather than suffer with it but it's not always easy (although there are many others out there who have it worse than me).

One aspect of my OCD that I struggle with the most is scrupulosity.
There is plenty of good information out there on the finer detail of what scrupulosity is, so for now I'll stick with the following: It's a OCD specturm disorder which causes the sufferer to suffer from religious and/or moral guilt/doubt.

With me it's more religious other than moral (although the moral side of it does come into things every now and then) and it comes in the form of doubt.

A bit of background:I wasn't raised in a deeply religious household, I had no religious ideology forced upon me and I never had.
In my teenage years I found Christianity at odds in life as I was experiencing it and began reading about other religions. I found the pre-christian religions of Northern Europe fascinating and within them found an approach to life, and an explanation for day to day life, that fit.
At that point I became a pagan, I suppose. I have always read widely on the subject of faith, and atheism, and I've always been a bit of a agnostic theist more than a died in the wool pagan of any particular flavour - although Heathenism ticked a lot of my boxes. It still does.
It is worth saying that all that time I still held a fondness for liberal christianity and find churches fantastic places to spend some time (and it might be the Welshman in me, but I love a good hymn!). But I find the theology/dogma too exclusive for me to be able to subscribe to.

For a quite a while this contradictory approach caused me no problem at all, although the scrupulous side of my ocd was always there niggling away.

It was a few years ago now when it became a real issue for me, and it has been that way pretty much ever since.

The way the scrupulosity manifests itself is often like this:
1. It pushes me to make a choice between two clearly different beliefs.
2. It then causes questioning of that choice from the point of view of the option not chosen.
3. It then questions the answers to those questions from the other point of view, causing a vicious circle of question, answer, doubt and frustration.

As you can imagine, it's not much fun.

The worse bit is that when looking for help with this kind of religious comparison is that is wealth of for and against information out there and believers in either will inevitably promote their chosen faith, always with good intentions.

My scrupulosity means that even trying to find some stablility as an agnostic is really difficult.

And so it goes on.

Yesterday I thought I had go through my last bout but it's still here.

I get frustrated that it keeps happening, I wish I could find a way of beating it for good, which I will.

I am doing well with all the other aspects of my OCD, I WILL get this sorted one day.
I hope it's soon.

I've written this post more for me that anyone else.
I hope that maybe it might help someone in the same position to feel not so alone with it.
I'm lucky, my wife is such wonderful support that I do wonder how I'd cope on my own.

Until next time, take care out there people and be excellent to each other!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Being poor has nothing to do with being a good or bad person.

I have been poor.
I held the same values and work ethic I have now.
It was not fun.
I got lucky, the things I tried to improve my lot worked - to an extent.

There are just as many lazy despicable wealthy people as there are lazy despicable poor people.
Wealth and social standing does NOT guarantee a good heart and up standing moral fibre.

I'm not defending people who refuse to try and improve their situation in the belief the are owed a keeping from the state. But I know, from experience, that sometimes your attempts to improve your lot in life come to nothing.
When that happens, and you're on your uppers, then you have a right to support.

Pre-benefit system Britain was not great. It was a place where the poor, and that was nearly everyone by the way, was either worked to death from a very early age or left to die as a lost cause.
The reason it was changed, by people in government who had grown up within that society, was that it was morally undefendable and just plain wrong!
That has not changed.

We all have the responsibility to care for each other, that goes hand in hand with our responsibility to care for ourselves to ensure we don't over burden others.
The second part of the above is what has failed to be taught to many generations and THAT is what is wrong, not the system.

If modern politicians believe that removing the welfare state, and the NHS, will improve the lives of individuals in Britain then they are wrong. Very, very wrong.

If they believe that it will keep the wealthy rich and widen the gap between those that have and those that don't, which I believe is their main concern, then they are right.

And that is not to mention the rise in crime that'll go with it.......

And one last thing,
Anyone can be poor.
It can happen to anyone, very quickly.
If you are poor, I wish you well in improving your lot.
If you are not, then long may it stay that way.
And if you are in power, how about taking good care of the poor just in case you end up as one of them?