Mental Health Awareness

My workplace is taking the general mental health of its employees seriously enough to be rolling out information and training in resiliency and self awareness, and making sure people know that support is available. I’m glad to see it, and even more so to have my staff acknowledge that they’ve found some of it useful, or at least thought-provoking.

My own use of the tools is somewhat undercut by the experience of being in long-term counselling for some nineteen years or so, and doing many of the practices already as part of my self-care discipline. It would be easy therefore to allow a degree of jaded thought if not for remembering that many people are encountering these concepts for the first time and that my journey does not invalidate the courses, the assessments, or the information in any way.

It would be easy to scoff and roll my eyes at the results telling me that I have negative thoughts and high levels of stress – because it’s not telling me anything that I’m not already aware of – but the tools and challenges suggested are ones that colleagues are finding useful.

I know I have negative thoughts and impulses because I challenge and fight them every morning, afternoon, and evening and do my best to not be defined or controlled by them. The thing is, I don’t really know how many others around me fight them too: Not unless they tell me by word or deed. So that’s why I’m so glad for the new focus at work. It’s more chipping away at the stigma.

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Fiction Fragment: Border Time

Gerald Thorne sat in his study, running the thin silver chain links flow between his ink-stained fingers. He was aware of the soft rumble of the traffic outside, but it was the patient ticking of the clock that held his attention. The clock itself was on the marble mantelpiece behind him. It’s mechanism ran smoothly with gentle winding every week or so, and it had travelled with him everywhere that it had been practical to take it.

It had been a present upon his graduation decades ago. It’s simple ornamentation was classic in its beauty. It had always kept perfect time, except for under certain esotoric conditions.

With the thick drapes excluding the outside world, and the only light coming from thick candles either end of his desk, the scene had a timeless quality that seemed gathered and layered, condensed even. The steady ticking of the clock continued to slice that timelessness into even segments that fell away into eternity.

He looked and trickled the chain links from one hand to the palm of the other slowly, back and forth in time with the clock. The silver gleamed in the candle light like water catching the evening sun. The moment of dusk was near: the border time, the boundary of night and day. The procession of seconds continued, each as unremarkable as the next as Gerald’s awareness of the outside world faded and focused on the moment.

The clock skipped a second. And then another. All was silent. Gerald gripped the silver chain, and then he heard the click of a dog’s claws on the vinyl flooring outside the door.

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Not as might be expected?

We’ve had a very lazy Sunday, Lady M and I. Mostly because it’s been a bit of a full on week again and colds are still trying to either linger or set in.

With all this feeling run-down it’s probably not too surprising that Lady M currently has some form of opportunistic inflammation of the joints on her wedding ring finger. This has made removing and replacing the rings while washing and so on really quite painful, so she has reluctantly not been wearing them while she treats the swelling with a topical cream.

This morning she told me that someone at work had noticed her bare ring finger and had in hushed and horrified tones asked if we had split up. On being reassured that this wasn’t the case, they then expressed that they had been worried that I had run off with lady s but we’re relieved everything was okay – especially when Lady M gave a robust rebuttal to that notion.

It did prompt me to, somewhat tongue in cheek, coin the word ‘monogonormals’ in response, but it is actually appreciated that her colleagues have such concern for Lady M’s well-being. Thank you. You’ll be relieved to know that Lady M did not disclose your identity to me.

The stereotype of polyamorous relationships having any more of a temporary shelf life than ones we are socialised to accept as ‘normal’ is one that can appear at any time. Accusations of being a commitment-phobe, or of being greedy are not uncommon for people with this relationship model.

My truth is that I love my partners and know that they love me too. I have as much of a crystal ball as the next person for knowing what the future brings; but as long as we carry on with talking and listening, reaching out and giving space, and evolving with our experiences then that’s a good strong basis to face the future with confidence and trust.

It really is that simple.

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Unexpected Sleep Break

Well, I must have needed that – having had a fairly heavy day sorting out a variety of issues and feeling like my head was about to implode, I got home to find Lady M already in bed with a migraine. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and thought “I know, I’ll snuggle down for a little bit with her.”

Then my alarm went off and it was seven in the morning. So, yes, that happened…

Its just as well as today sees the first day for a new member of staff, and a fair amount of things happening at work event-wise so I’m chalking it up to my brain deciding that my conscious processes were going to get in my own way and forcing a reboot..

I do feel better for it, but I’m still looking forward to the end of the day so I can properly switch off for a bit.

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The V On The Roof

One of my libraries has a building site next door – as in, just the other side of the wall of my office – and it has been a noisy year as they demolished the old buildings and then started to build the development from scratch. One of the big complaints from people in the area was that it was removing an architectural feature from the area – specifically the imposing front of what had been a college, complete with an impressive facade – even though the site had been closed and falling apart for quite some time.

As I was walking in to work the other day though, I could start to see the final shape of some of the buildings in the development coming together as the peaked roofs are added to the bare bones of concrete and metal. The shape and colour of the tiles is reminiscent of the older building that had been there before – and I thought it a nice touch. Then I noticed on one of the roofs a lighter coloured V shape, which looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. I mentioned it to a member of staff whose family has been in the area for generations and she got excited enough to jump out and go round to take a picture.

Apparently it exactly replicates signs of bomb damage from World War Two, where a device hit the road a short way away from the school (as it was at the time), and lightly damaged the tiles of its roof where it faced the explosion. Builders rapidly replaced the tiles from bombed out buildings nearby so that the school could keep running but the colour didn’t quite match. This left a distinct lighter coloured V shape that was never repaired or replaced until the building was demolished last year to make way for the new buildings. It had become part of the fabric of the local community – a sign of it pulling together in war and adversity to help its members – and so the reappearance of this V in the tiles on the same alignment and location of the original has been grudgingly admired as a nice nod to the past and the continuity of that spirit.

Little things go a long way

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Windups in the Library: Seville

“I was looking in the travel books, and I can’t find anything about Seville.”

“Where?”

“Seville? You know, Spain?”

“Are you sure you were looking in the right place?”

“Where else might it be? Have we got a display?”

“No, Cookery?”

“What? Cookery? Like famous recipes as a travelogue?”

“Certainly, though probably about preserves.”

“Preserves?

“You know, like marmalade?”

“Marmelade?”

“Yeah, Seville Oranges.”

“No! I meant the place!”

“”Where?”

“Seville!”

“The oranges?”

“No – oh wait, you swine! Give over!”

Inspired by a conversation at work today

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Post-Christmas Time

Okay, I’ve taken down the decorations both at home and at work, and am watching Irish people try alcoholic advent calendars on YouTube. Must be a day off. This is my rock and roll lifestyle – I’ve even checked in with lady s to hear that she’s taken down their tree as well. Our respective living rooms suddenly seem a lot bigger.

From here on out we’re into January properly – that strange 900 day stretch to the next paycheque where everyone looks increasingly longingly at the reduced price luxury food in the shops that common sense tells us that we really can’t afford for either monetary or health reasons.

So that’s something to enjoy, yes?

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