Tag Archives: geek

Waiting For The Axe To Fall…

So… today is the last day before my PIP re-assessment. Needless to say I’m terrified and freaked out.

They’re not nice people, and their job is to try and find ways of undermining your suffering to make sure they don’t have to give you money to live on.

Thus, I am not looking forward to it. Funny that.

Today has already been a nightmare without even factoring in that hovering over my head like a black cloud on Eyore. The isobars have been on the floor again (1007mb) and I could barely move my fingers, let alone myself. It was a big struggle, and although I am glad I got some things done, I am not pleased that I did it. It was really difficult, painful and completely draining.

img_0886It wasn’t even anything big… Well, it was to me, given the weather (torrential rain and chilly), but in and of itself it wasn’t big. I was barely able to get out of bed, or downstairs to my chair, or function. So doing this did feel like a huge mountain to climb.

I was in constant panic attacks and major anxiety (and I still am – my mother, a nurse, came up with a clever way of helping me by emulating the paper-bag trick but using my inhaler – taking it without actually using the pump… it works!). Eventually, I managed to get myself together enough to go out to the new Waitrose in Chester, so I could get some good food to get more nutrition and look after myself better. The place was great and I got some lovely things, including fruit to go in my new Purition protein smoothies. Now I’ll at least have an entire week of nothing but good, wholesome and nutritious food, with my new mountain of fruit and veggies from there.

Unfortunately, it was also extraordinarily exhausting to do this, and by the time I got home I couldn’t even function: I could barely transfer from the car to the chair, I fell when I went to the bathroom, and I had multiple panic attacks. I have no doubt I will not be going to sleep at a reasonable (as in before 6am…) hour – although I can’t imagine what I am going to be doing with myself now. I’d like to think it would be playing games, but I can’t see it somehow…

On the up side, I finally got the Mass Effect Andromeda Loot Crate that I pre-ordered back in March… And it was well worth the wait!

  •  A Gorgeous Pathfinder hoodie
  • 2 lovely plastic children’s(esque) cereal bowls emblazed with the Mass Effect Andromeda Cereal logo around it (especially for geeks!)
  • 2 gorgeaous, heavy (real) whiskey glasses embossed with the logo of the Nexus’ club, Vortex
  • An adorable model of the Nomad
  • An Andromeda Initiative Medalian Coin (huge and heavy!)
  • A Pathfinder Patch
  • Pins of Tempest and Andromeda Initiative
  • A [short] Dark Horse graphic novel: Mass Effect Discovery #1
  • A Normandy Datapad-shaped card with all the details of the Crate on it

I was amazed by it – it was really so nerdy! Worth the wait and the price. I’ve no doubt I will be hiding that hoodie as soon as winter comes! 😋🤓😎

And now… Well, I just wait. Wait to go and face the guillotine that is Capita, PIP [Mis-] Representatives.

Oh, Lordy, I so do not want to go!

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Change and Adapt… Reluctantly Speaking

Changes are not good for me. Changes are even worse because I hate them. I don’t know what to do with them and they scare me. After almost quite literally overnight having my life as I always knew it taken away from me, I have not adapted well. Worse – I have now had to think about starting to adapt my environment to suite me, and that is not easy. Or cheap. Ten months ago, on Halloween 2013, I began this journey of hell. Somehow, coming down with pneumonia, move house, go to work, and having to single-handedly look after our new rescue dog who had just been brutally attacked and was terrified of everything, just broke whatever that was left of my body (and it was already extremely frayed). I’m not technically disabled (and I do not like that word, anyhow) – but I have been certainly left unable to do a lot of things without help. A lot of help.

I had my longterm best friend, who I live with, home on sabbatical for months. During that time she became my accidental carer, my helper, my little guardian angel. My SBT-mix, my lovely puppy dog, Soul also became my accidental helper. As my health deteriorated, my mental health deteriorated, and the pain kept on increasing, and if it wasn’t for these two I don’t know how I would have managed to get through the last nine months since this started. However, things have changed again. My friend – who is also my companion and helper – has now had to return to work… Sabbaticals aren’t forever. On the positive side, she returned to a closer office to home so she leaves later and returns earlier than before. On the negative side, I’m left to fend for myself. And I’m rather terrified about it, and about the fact I must now do it every single day. The most basic things are exhausting and daunting. Making food is reduced to making sandwiches from pre-made sandwich fillers or things like sliced ham. Making coffee is extremely difficult, and I can only do it once because after I’m exhausted and in pain. Having had someone in the house as I get worse has been a blessing – but now I’m on my own, I have no other option than to figure out how I’m going to manage this situation.

I’ve already tried to start. I’ve ordered new gear for the dog so he can physically help me more – he’s a strong and enthusiastic dog who enjoys being physically challenged (… well, when he’s not busy being happily asleep!). I’m going to get myself a cute little hot water dispenser so I can make my own coffee, I’ve already got myself a high bar stool chair thing for the kitchen, so I don’t have to try and stand when making stuff, and I even use it to bring the sandwich ingredients to the counter, so I don’t have to try to carry them (I can’t lift much of anything, and holding stuff is difficult enough too). I’ve worked out my “independent” food – like the sandwich fillers, picnic food that I can fetch from the fridge (cocktail sausages, little falafels, ready-cooked chicken, etc), pre-prepared salad, humus dip… I can eat all this stuff without too much bother. If it’s too much bother, it causes too much pain, and then I can’t even eat, so having figured this out is a bit of a relief. At least now I know I won’t starve.

Souly The Helper DogThe other side of this is going outside without anyone but the dog. Both doggy and I need to go out and walk as much as I can, so we go anyway. He pulls me (and I mean really pulls me) so I can actually go out. I can’t really move my legs, so walking on my own is difficult enough in the house. Going out is not an option unless I have the dog. Have you ever been pulled by a really strong dog? You’ll probably know they’re perfectly capable of dragging you about – and that momentum is what gets my legs moving and allows me to walk. I trained Soul to pull me properly – he has his commands, does as he is told, and knows he’s not in front because he’s the boss: He knows very well he’s in front and pulling because it’s his job, and it’s a job he takes pretty seriously (until we stop – then he wants to cuddle and kiss everyone he comes across!). It’s difficult for him to drag me about – I’m very lucky the dog my friend accidentally brought home to us (he wasn’t planned – she saw him and just brought him back!) was a dog bred to work and able to pull – but he really gives it all he’s got, and even if we’re both having difficulty in getting home, he’ll dig even deeper and work even harder, going up a whole new extra gear. He even knows better than I do if I need to go home – he’s amazing! He works like he’s in a pulling contest for World’s Strongest Dog – and he just might win one of those on the first try after pulling me about for the last few months!

Going out with him gives me confidence. He helps me, makes me feel safe, and I know that anyone who might want to do anything to me will think twice when they see him. He’s 23kg of muscle, thanks to a good diet and pulling me about every day. They don’t know the only thing he’ll do is drown them in kisses, unless they try to actually hurt me. I know if I was genuinely attacked he would protect me, regardless of the fact he’s never been trained do so – that’s just instinct. We go wandering about, going on our routes, and we just trot around on our own. I cope by stuffing headphones in my ears and blocking the world out, and focusing only on Soul and whatever I am listening to. After about an hour and a half of dragging me about, doggy is really tired and is quite happy to sleep it off the rest of the day, unless I need him to help me.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when I must go out alone. This afternoon, I must go to the GP by myself for the first time since I got this ill. Since I’ve been unable to walk on my own (without Soul). I’ve had to book a cab to take me… The practice is only just down the road, and frankly I rather resent the fact I have to pay for someone to take me there. I am fighting with myself to not be angry, hurtful or hateful to myself about this. I feel like I should be able to do it, like I used to be able to do it. Even though I’ve always been overwhelmed by going outside – always been agoraphobic to some level or other – I’ve always been able to use tools and techniques to go places I’ve had to get to. But now, I am in so much pain, unstable on my legs, feeling so vulnerable, I don’t want to go anywhere on my own. This time I can’t even take Soul. It’s honestly going to be a lot of trouble just to get out the house and walk to the car when it comes.

I’m scared of going; it’s going to be hard – physically, emotionally, psychologically. I have learned a lot about myself in the last few months – more than I’ve learned in the last 30-odd years of being me before, so I’m trying to use that knowledge to help myself now, hoping it’s going to help me cope and not have a panic attack or meltdown. I’m so used to going out with Doggy or my friend that I have no idea how to cope with going out all by myself in this state. So, I did myself a favour and downloaded a new album that I wanted this morning that I know will help me feel more relaxed and focus my mind on something I love (the soundtrack to Mass Effect 2, to go with the Mass Effect 3 one I already have… I’m such a Gamer Girl Geek!), and I will also have my books to read in the waiting room on my iPad. I hope this will be enough for me to manage. Even getting some of the anxiety out by writing this has helped a little, allowing me to confront and analyse my feelings, and to be able to accept them and at least try to not fear the fear itself. I hope that if I just focus on the music I will be fine. I really hope I don’t have a panic attack… The last thing I need today is a meltdown from one.

*

… I knew all this was coming one day… but not quite so soon. I’ve been slowly been getting progressively worse, and probably subconsciously taking more note of it that I probability thought I did, I probably did a lot of things that have probably helped it along over the years. However, I’ve enjoyed throwing myself into the physical activities that I used to love  and can no longer do. Horse riding (and falling off the horses) was probably the worst of them – but dancing, walking, singing, yoga… I became absolutely absorbed in each one, to the point that although I miss them, I know I pushed myself and completed enough of what I wanted to do with them that I’m not too disappointed about not being able to engage with them now. On the other hand, the normal things you take for granted. Even writing this has been very painful. My hands are aching a lot, in the top bones and in my fingers and thumbs, especially in my right hand. All this makes me feel afraid of going out there alone, of being at home on my own… I hope I’m going to get through it all in one piece.

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Starting Over & Changing The Game

 

The hard work begins here…. I have started on this (long?) road of my training with Chapterhouse Publishing’s course in Copy Editing and Proofreading, and I have just enrolled.

I will be waiting for the manuals with the tools of the trade I feel already quite familiar with to arrive, so I will finally learn the “proper” ways of doing it that other people will be requiring from me.

Working with Cat is always really straightforward – she’s a good writer and writes fairly short articles, which she then just emails to me and I edit on MS Word – or Google Docs, if I need easier online access. The mistakes are usually minor and quickly rectified, and the articles are always interesting and entertaining to read. All bonuses when it comes to these things! I rather think it will not be quite so easy when it comes to doing it professionally, though…

I am aware that a lot of copy-editing is still done on paper and requires specialist correction techniques so as those who receive the edited copy can adjust the writing accordingly. It’s learning this skill that will be important, but will also make editing much less straightforward than the way I edit Cat’s writing. Other than that I’ve had the experience of editing and proofreading copies for years, for so many things, so I think I’m ready for it!

What I am looking forward to (in the – hopefully – not-too-distant-future) is attaching my natural fascination and acquired skills with IT and programming to the learning how VBAs and analytical tools can be used to assist with editing. The SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) runs courses on these skills – as well as specific website editing courses – and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing when I’ve gained the relevant skills to apply for them.

I’m not really naturally inclined to handle paper – electronic and virtual things are much easier to use, manipulate, and don’t clog up space, and they also much more fun to play with. For me, it was the final pro-point to trying to start this up as a career, as I could “geek-it-up” and continue to use my IT skills with it, and learn new ones too – a huge bonus. I would love my main focus to be with on-screen editing, website editing, and using programs and software to help me do this job to.

My original dilemma was that I didn’t want to leave the geek-world of IT behind for “traditional” non-IT work. The only “old-fashioned” thing I embrace is reading real books – as in ones made of paper, not Kindles. After reading that these skills were becoming core skills, and were being coveted by the “clients”, I was finally convinced that I would be quite happy slowly transferring my career into this industry. 


After reading there were even specialist courses on doing these things, it was the final tick for my boxes, and now I’m excited about learning how IT programming and analytical tools can be applied to copy-editing. I will also enjoy this, as it will then mean I can still use my “toys” (IT software and programs) to work – something I would have sorely missed if they weren’t the way forward in this industry. 


To be honest, if I hadn’t read about them, I would never have even really considered it as a serious option as a possible future career. Now I realise how I can finally mesh all my passions together to do one pretty interesting job – and I will be really focusing on getting on with the training, and honing transferable skills I already have to something I pretty much to anyway.

I would also love to put these to good use within the IT or gaming industries – editing and proofreading for game writers or IT manuals… But that’s for the future. I’m still putting it down as a goal though!


For the first time, I may be genuinely looking forward to the future… 


Finding Futures…

I’ve always been a geek… A book-worm, book-writer, game-lover and loner. As a toddler and young nipper, my real best friend was my Daddy and we played together for hours every day – sometimes with nothing but our own extensive and vibrant imaginations. I was myself and I didn’t question myself. They were good days, and I revelled in being exactly who I was – warts and all.
 


But that just wasn’t OK with my childish peer-group (and in fairness, we were all children…). Since I stepped into the permanent company of others, I’ve been slowly trying to hide myself and my nature. Unfortunately, for this loner, I had to start school, and I slowly but surely disappeared, trying to turn into a ghost of nothing to avoid teasing, jeers, and out-and-out bullying… From the young students and the teachers.
 


In trying to fit in, get along, and “manage” in this world, I’ve made some lunatic mistakes – including attempting to take my education and career towards nursing. It took a few rather horrific incidents and one wonderful woman (as well as the support of long-suffering parents) to start me on a different path – and I somehow managed to land myself in IT. Much to my relief. The silent geek in me breathed a sigh of relief and clearly hoped that one day it would be let out of its carefully-crafted cage of silence.
 


Gaming was my first real foray back to that part of me, outside being overtly Goth and pagan. I realise I’ve always been a gamer – not a computer one (I had to wait for technology to catch up with my expectations) – but always I’ve loved games. If I didn’t own every board game, I certainly played them – and every parlour-type game and “pub quiz” style game was mine to be owned… I strove to win each time, even playing against adults – and often-times I did. And to be honest, I got too used to winning I was a really sore loser!
 


I never really kept friends if they came along – they couldn’t really keep up with my more grown-up things I liked, and tended to win easily at games, which made them not much fun to play with anyway. I stuck with preferring adult company because they were on more the same level as I was and at least challenged me somewhat.
 


When I was introduced to real gaming – firstly with the fabulous Eternal Darkness on the GameCube – I was suddenly blown away by what playing these games was really like. I also realised that I now suddenly didn’t need other idiots to play with. I no longer had to be bored and rely on waiting for other people to play – I could play alone and buff up the difficulty to challenge me (as opposed to trying to upgrade to whatever adults were around instead of the kids). I could indulge in my geek-side – one that loved fantasy, stories, technology, computing, and playing games. When I found RPGs I was away, and finally The Elder Scrolls and the Fable franchise gave me something useful to be obsessed over, instead of struggling with feelings of serious depression and musings of self-harming that still plagued my mind.
 


Somehow, playing these – like any gaming fan(atic) does, started pushing the other nonsense out of my head and I started indulging more and more in my true “geek” nature, and began to not give a hairy rat’s backside what other people thought, or whether or not I could play in the sandbox with “normal” people (non-geeks).
 


With this has slowly been a quiet confidence building as I get to know myself properly. I have felt so lost that I now feel I’ve been given the most awesome GPS system with a clear You-Are-Here and a big glittery breadcrumb trail (a la Fable) to where I need to be to just be me (… I can’t even really put “again” here, because I don’t think I’ve really been “me” since I first started school).

I feel like I’ve been given a vehicle to grasp onto to bring that side of me back out again, this time with more strength, confidence and the courage of my own convictions.



Most of all, it’s allowed me to realise that it’s so tiring trying to be someone else. I have a lot more buzz when I’m embracing the things that I love instead of trying hard to focus on things I genuinely really couldn’t give a hairy rat’s arse about at all. I think I’m happy now trying to just put my energy into simply being me – I’ll hazard a guess I’ll get a lot more out of that.


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