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  1.  (10684.1)
    The Rules:

    The THREE ACT SPEAKEASY is here for you to vent, to express, and to learn. This is your chance to perform -- but you're also in the audience, guv, and are expected to behave as such. So your skits at the steely Whitechapel microphone will ALL and ALWAYS be divided into three sections:

    1: The Boo. The Get-It-Off-Your-Chest. The "I've-Had-A-Shit-Week-And-I-Need-To-Vent". Your chance to scream silently into the face of Internet apathy, and trepan your pressurized consciousness. Deposit your spleen here.

    2: The Huzzah. Wherein you tell us something which goes just a teensy way to mitigating the effects of the psychic turd you just laid on our heads. Perhaps it's a tiny hint of hope in an otherwise bleak situation. Perhaps it's an unrelated Thing Which Happened which made you smile rather than frown. Shit, maybe it's just a silly joke. Show us you can cope as well as carp.

    3: The Applause. You will choose one of your fellow whitechapellers, from this same thread. Doesn't have to be the person who posted before you - just someone whose story touched you. And you will offer them a word of advice, or comfort, or support, to help them with their own SECTION 1 Whinge. Doesn't have to be much. A sentence, a word, a bloody emoticon - whatever. Just a paltry donation to the art of Thinking Of Others. And try to avoid schmaltz, please, or the Urethral Maggots will feast anew. Circle of life, kids.

    Naturally, the first person to respond here is excused from Stage 3.

    Begin.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2012
     (10684.2)
    1. It's been the long kind of loaded week that feels like it lasted a month. I've either been running rehearsals or studying Japanese. But with a bit of overlap because the theatre knows no bounds. Been bitching about an actor on the "actor's life for me" thread. I gotta stop. she's not going to shape up. She's not going ask what she could do so our relationship is productive. She's not every going to even conceive of the idea that she's a problem so every bit of static that comes up between is going to be all me, in her reckoning.

    That's why her phone call to me was so destructive on Thursday. There had been a breakdown and a union rule was in danger of being violated. I committed to protecting the rule even though it makes life a lot harder. But she was so pissed off that it was even threatened that the phone call was about ten times longer than necessary, more emotionally fraught and made me realize that she and I define "respect" differently. I had respected her. Now I understand I can't rely on her to be an adult about things. It's so frustrating - and kind of hurtful - to find this in the workplace. And it really fucking sucks when the workplace is completely artistic (and by the way no money, really, and zero compensation in any other direction). No, she is not going to see it our way. No she is not going allow people to learn from things that happened. Yep, she's going to work herself into a tizzy and they get mad that the situation even existed that got her so worked up. And Yep, that's going to be my problem because I have to talk her down and she won't be talked down until she sees/hear that I'm as concerned by the situation as she is. WHICH IS BULLSHIT EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION.

    The thing that happened? It's a thing. And it definitely required attention. Everything else after that? emotional fallout. It's not in my job description to go through a certain emotional odyssey in order to get shit done. It's just not. And this is the same person who demanded that we not waste her time. But what does she like do during rehearsal? Stop and take tangential routes because they get her through her process. I am very appreciative of an artist's process. I totally get it takes work for an actor to take in the script and blocking and other technical things and put out something creative and amazing. I know it takes time and effort. It also takes time and effort for the production team to do everything necessary to build a show. But the support structure this actor wants must be in existence from the moment she dreams it up, or we're wasting her time. What hypocritical bullshit is that?!

    So that phone call? It took nearly a half hour. And it was a few hours before my Japanese final. And because of the emotional odyssey bullshit I was still worked up when I needed to get back to studying and head in to the final. So what happened? I could barely focus. My studying was horked and when I got to the final I was totally blank. I don't suck at taking tests. I'm not the best at it ever, but I do well academically. I always have. I just don't function well when my emotions are big fucking mess. And there I was at my final exam for Japanese 204, still seething about a fucking phone call. If I failed the test... ARGH. I don't want to think about it.

    This weekend was different. She wasn't a problem this weekend. Instead we shot video that'll be used in the play (experimental, expressionistic, multimedia FTW!!) And that took for fucking ever. 13.5 hours on Saturday, 15 hours on Sunday. I have to admit the director worked her ass off. I did maybe half of what she did, and most of it was sitting down while she was running around lighting, filming, setting up, tearing down, etc. I do NOT know a thing about filming. And this weekend reminded me why I sought a degree in theatre rather than cinema. I don't know anything about anything when it comes to making a good video recording. And I don't care about knowing it. So the director had a MUCH tougher weekend than me. But it was still long and painful and because I'm not a filmic person, I spent nearly every minute thinking about how much I didn't want to be there. Usually hours like these are for tech weekends. But tech is next week, so the proper bitching has not even begun!

    2. Today is my one day off. It's Memorial Day. It's Monday. The family is getting together at the house and barbeque'ing and my mom has already (repeatedly) asked for my help. I'm dodging leaving my room or putting on shoes because... it's my day off goddammit. I go back to the theater tomorrow and every day after until we open the motherfucker; first weekend of opening ends June 10th. So I won't get another day off for two weeks.

    I'm making the most of kicking back. Thinking about shit I haven't had the time to think about for a long while. Feeling a little bit creative up in the brain pan. feeling a little booty-licious down south of that. Just a little. More than the flat zero I've been feeling for over a month. Because it's Memorial Day my Twitter and facebook are awash in little, contained nuggets of thanks for veterans, living and deceased. And therefore I'm awash in complicated feelings. In my life anywhere I've lived I've observed only two parades held for remembering war dead. The last one was while I was in high school and it was designed to lead the parade participants and observers to a fair where people could pay to ride little rides, or eat BBQ. Since then my community has move more toward the fairs and BBQs and away from remembrance. Oh, but along comes social media to remind people as they check in with friends about their picnics and so the mode becomes to toss off a "thanks to all who served" and then check the patties on the grill.

    (Cutting here for length - whoa there is an actual character limit!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2012
     (10684.3)
    (continuing above)
    I grew up listening to my father's war stories (a seaman in the Pacific '44-45). It doesn't escape my grasp that it was clear to me how much hated war and how humans set themselves against each other and yet somehow that translated to my brothers that the should try a stint in the military. Well, they never asked me. I could see how stressed they were as they headed to basic so I kept my anti-war commentary to myself. I wasn't going to be the confrontational hippy, trapping people into painful discussions and creating dissension instead of breeding communal understanding. So I prayed to God that they would come from Iraq and Afghanistan safe and sound. Because I believe in community and I love my brothers, and thus if their side of things was to fight and possibly die then my side of things was to make sure they were asked to do that when absolutely needed. I still thing war is clearly a failure somewhere in the process. But I know for certain now that there are people who don't want the process of peace and justice to succeed, period. And they wear my flag and claim to speak for me.

    If all the people posting thanks did something more like contributing to groups working to heal returning veterans, integrating them in the workforce and/or getting them to school I would take seriously their feelings; if all the people who say they respect and honor men and women in uniform agitated to make certain we only sent them into causes that manifestly protected America and OPENLY RESISTED efforts to send them to places where we're not sure that was the truth... their words would not be empty rhetoric.

    These kinds of holidays always bring out my inner cynic because I love my country and my brothers. It's not ironic, it's not precious, it's love. It's the opposite of everything that makes me want to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head and forget everything exists. It makes getting up and getting work worth all the hassle.

    That's enough from me. So much more on my mind, but I should hand over the mic, as they (might) say. Thanks for reading...

    3. appears no one else has posted yet so... on to the BBQ. Back later to give virtual hugs...
    •  
      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012
     (10684.4)
    Aww YUSS

    -Started on Concerta today. It's brought about a sea change in my brain, a very good one. I just wish I'd asked for a hand sooner.

    Aw FOCK

    -My wife was in a car accident last week. She's fine, but the wee Yaris may be totaled. Hey, you can replace a car, right?

    Aww YOU GUYYYYS

    -@razrangel: Keep taking the high road with your colleague. Watch some 30 Rock if it helps you decontextualize divas.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012 edited
     (10684.5)
    ONE CRAWLED OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

    Fuck, what have I signed-up for?! I went for my initial assessment for suitability for going into rehab this morning. The meeting with the professional went as well as it could, I guess. I told her the skinny, all my past shit etc. The next thing she has to do is take my case to a committee to apply for funding; this should happen over the next two weeks. Then it has to be seen if there are beds available in places suitable for me. Ideally, I want to go to somewhere where they do the twelve-step program, but more importantly, where there is fucking trees, plants, rivers, oceans, mountains, koala bears and NO FUCKING POLICE SIRENS AND CITY FILTH!! Even as I tap this in, it's all I can seem to hear, sirens in the street, and it's doing my head in. But even if this comes together, I've got to go into a place in London called The Max Glatt Unit for detox. Bugger, this place sounds awful...

    Searches (I don't mind that), limited contact with other patients (fair enough), but NO SMOKING in the unit? Bastards! It says smoking will be arranged during escorted walks in smoking shelters on the hospital grounds, and Nicotine Replacement Therapy is provided.

    It gets more daunting: No mobile phones, televisions, electronic games and COMPUTERS (NOOOOO!), are allowed, so I won't be able to check in here. I'll take in a few books, graphic novels etc. I'll also take in my NA literature, do some step-work. Fuck it, I'll take in a notebook and write a really sick, perverted, pornographic, horrible book that will make Naked Lunch seem tame, even though my grammar is utter shite! I don't know, maybe I'll meet a sick nurse up for debauchery in bleach-stinking-toilets. They have the odd groups there, thank fuck. I can be quite good in those things, as I actually worked in a rehab (drama teacher etc), when I was younger. They have a NA meet there, too, so I'll be able to see some people I've met over the past year.

    I had a HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B test on Friday. I also had the pleasure of having a wooden urethral maggot attack done on me, which was nice! I don't think I've got any of those lovely things, but I needed to do it. They had to get a trained doctor in to get blood, as all my surface veins have collapsed.

    Fucking Hell, I'm a monster!!!!

    SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN

    I'm pushing myself to get everything in order for all this: Cleaning my flat, sorting out new glasses, doing meets, eating well, enjoying the sunshine, sorting bills, reading, etc. I've recovered from relapsing last week. I've got a roof over my head. I'm listening to The Smiths, as I'm a soft git at heart. I'm also alive, which is the main thing.

    INTERACTUS

    @razrangel: Your words about war moved me, as my Grandfather was killed at sea by Nazi Bastards. All the best for your acting.
    @Fauxhammer: I'm really glad your wife is ok.
  2.  (10684.6)
    BOO

    Early warning signs of depressive episode have appeared - have been really, really foul tempered for the last few days with no apparent reason, hostile to innocent people, weird nocturnal twitches, no concentration, and today, being unable to speak coherently in a couple of meetings. Shouldn't be happening - have been eating ok, getting exercise, and I've been fine for ages. I finally got on top of my workload as well last week, had an empty inbox for the first time this year and felt I was getting stuff done - this week it's all fallen down.

    Going to do my bastard damndest to stop the slide (doesn't help that I haven't been eh, taking the tablets properly). A close family member has been diagnosed with MS as well, which I'm pretty cut up about.

    The fucking wildlife keeps eating my fucking garden as well. Or digging it up. All my radishes and half my lettuces went. Bastards. I can't water it at the moment either, as the pipe to the outside tap burst. That's a job for Saturday...

    Also keep losing things - a digital recorder, the tablet pen from my laptop, a 16gb SD card, a receipt for a £70 hotel room that I need to claim back, I don't know where any of these damn things are and I really bloody need them back.

    HUZZAH

    It's a four day weekend while the Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne by burning the bones of Oliver Cromwell in a wicker man and abolishing parliament, or whatever it is she's planning. I'm going to go and see my parents and sister, which is nice. I will be far from London, which is nicer.

    APPLAUSE

    @Flecky - good luck with getting into rehab
    @Fauxhammer - technically, you can replace a wife as well as a Yaris, bit less convenient though. But I'm glad you don't have to.
    @Razrangel - death to fevered egos.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchiaslut
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
     (10684.7)
    The Dark Side:

    Like Mr. Carpenter, I can feel the depression/anxiety waiting in the wings. Sometimes I can beat it with luck or stubbornness, but other times all it takes it one seemingly small thing to open me up to it.
    The babymama is pulling her usual financial manipulations regarding childcare. It's hard to imagine someone who handles their finances worse than I do, but ... there ya go. Just one of the reasons we're not married anymore.
    Whichever local plants hate me have decided it's time to release it's pollen (plant bukkake?) into the air. Even with the usual barrage of allergy medication, my eyes itch like mad and my sinuses let the snot flow. Let the uncontrollable sneezing commence!
    I went for a hike a few weeks ago and ended up with my legs from the knee below being covered in chigger bites (Warning: Scratching inducing images behind the link). It still itches!!
    I still have massive anxiety around my job. I'm surrounded by super cool genius-level people, but I don't have a hard set of skills to sell. Just my chameleon-like adaptability. I feel like a fraud most of the time

    The Sunny Side:

    The flip side of the job is that it's really, really nice place to work and everyone is super nice. The CEO/founder is someone I used to work with at a different company and he's a just a solidly good person and has made it part of his job to populate this company with good people.
    My son is happy and healthy, even though we ended up having to buzz all his lovely locks off due to lice. Fucking bugs, man!
    My girl and I are eating better and I'm exercising more regularly. Helps with the depression/anxiety too.
    Despite the allergy attacks, the weather here in the Pacific NW of the US is getting nicer and nicer. Just about time to start camping and kayaking.

    Applause:

    @Flecky - Best of luck gettin' into rehab. Any way we can send some reading material your way if you need it?
    @Fauxhammer - Super happy your wife wasn't hurt in the bangup.
    @everyone - thanks for sharing and letting me unload/share
    •  
      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012
     (10684.8)
    THE GOOD
    As a result of the award I was nominated for, I've had a wee bit of interest in my novel from some professional sources. It looks like there's a slim chance I can actually sell this fucker, some way down the line... I'm aiming to wrap up the first draft by September. This is good, I feel like I have a mission now. Weaponizer Mag is selling well, despite a few probs with the US site which I'm still sorting out. I've sold nearly half of my stock, and am on the way to breaking even.

    THE BAD
    I still have no paying work apart from a little subediting for a local paper, so making rent this month could be tough. Going to the bank cap in hand tomorrow, which is always a bastard.

    THE HUZZAH
    My huzzahs are for Fauxhammer and Flecky. Faux, so glad your wife is okay, I read that sentence and actually spat coffee everywhere. Too close to fiction for my liking, thank fuck she's alright. Glad you're getting help too, and it's working. Fleck, go hard, stay cool. Keep on keeping on, my brothers and sisters of Whitechapel!
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012 edited
     (10684.9)
    BAD:

    The crazy people seem to have come out here in the past few weeks. Clients at work are being weird, some of my mom's friends have been going absolutely paranoid and odd and putting out all the fires has worn us all out. We're not driven to drink much, but this week...well, we're looking forward to Friday and on my end, there's some amazing wheat beers that just came out.

    [EDIT TO ADD: Just found out that one of the good people from a few years ago who I slipped out of contact with died in his sleep several days ago and was discovered by his roommates yesterday. He lent me Buffy DVDs, introduced me to a dining club and we played online chess. Weird thinking that he's gone. Shit.]

    GOOD:

    - Weight loss has been going well. Walking, folks. It helps. Soon I'll be back to bitching about losing 28lbs instead of 30. :P
    - Recently reunited with an old friend after roughly 6 years (we saw each other two times in that time, the last being two years ago, but whatever). It was really good to see him and good to have that friend back in my life.
    - Best friend was angry at me. Over it now. Yay.
    - The Jalapeno plants are groooowing! Soon they'll be transplanted to the big garden outside. Looking forward to all the spicy food I'll be making with them!
    - Shaping up to get a commercial editing job, which I haven't gotten in about two years. Pays quite well, so huzaah! Money for the Apartment Fund.

    HUZZAH:

    Faux, REALLY glad to hear that your wife is okay.
    Flecky, Hang in there, man.
    Texture, glad to hear that Weaponizer is selling well. :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012
     (10684.10)
    Mo' Better: my writing output has increased geometrically.

    Not So Much: my appetite is dead.

    Words on others:

    @Texture: Good thing my Zoloft had kicked in; I was remarkably zen about the whole thing. Pre-psych drugs I'd have gone hiding again. Gratz on the book!
    @Flecky: We're always pulling for you!
    @oldhat: Getting back in with old friends owns.
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012 edited
     (10684.11)
    BAD:

    I've gotten occasional spam emails from porn shit with subject lines like "I've been thinking about you all day" and a picture of a cock that gets through my gmail spam filter, but today was actually kind of distressing and I don't know what to do.

    I got a gchat request from a name I didn't recognize and said "okay allow them to chat" and later this evening received a video chat request. Naturally, I demanded that the person identify themselves or I'd block them (being suspicious). They didn't and then proceeded to say "I looked at ur pictures and am stroking my cock." I then blocked them and received two subsequent emails. One, much the same as the IM, the second, "Is that a no then?"

    I'm kind of freaked out. Rationally I know this could be a spam bot but irrationally, I also know that this could be someone real. Who knows who I am. And I know that by being freaked out I'm totally gratifying whatever person is behind this, but I can't help but be freaked out.

    Ugh.

    I am straight up freaking out.

    GOOD:

    People liked my MDF photos. I got a ton of views on Flickr. Woo fucking hoo.

    HUGS AND SUPPORT:

    Everyone. I'm sorry, I'm not calling you out individually because all of you need a hug in one respect or another. I can't offer much real or useful support, but I'll do what I can do. Hugs to you all.


    EDITED TO ADD:

    Above situation, while not resolved, has progressed in my favor. I discovered that this was, indeed, a person. Not a spam bot. I know his first and last name, where he went to high school, and that he works for the army. Incidentally, he tried to friend me on Facebook earlier today and I never responded.

    Somehow, he tracked down my private email address (not listed anywhere publicly) and started harassing me. Since we uncovered his identity, I received a second chat request in gmail from a different address, suspiciously like this asshole's name.

    If he emails me again, I'm calling his fucking job. And reporting him. I have the power now, asshole.

    (Also Taphead helped me through the beginning of the IP Address tracing process! SO BIG UPS TO TAPHEAD)
    •  
      CommentAuthorFishelle
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012
     (10684.12)
    @dorkmuffin Jeez. I just can't comprehend anyone who thinks that masturbating at you is a compliment. That is just not okay. Ugh indeed.
  3.  (10684.13)
    @Dorkmuffin: email the creep's provider as well, with copies of everything he's sent, and complain that he's using their service to sexually harass you.
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2012
     (10684.14)
    @Greasemonkey, it was Gmail. I filed two complaints, one for each email that included the entire contents of each email. I also filed a report on Facebook with a detailed report that included the fact that he was contacting me on Gmail. He also has two Facebook profiles (... one for harassing people?) so I reported that as well.
  4.  (10684.15)
    Nice work! Maybe his family and employer would like copies of the messages he's been sending you, too :-D
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2012
     (10684.16)
    Meh, if I hear nothing else, I'm not doing anything. I don't feel like giving him/whatever the satisfaction.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2012 edited
     (10684.17)
    @dorkmuffin: I'm glad you got the power, and that you've done your best to not let that sort of horrible crap just lie. Why should anyone have to? I know it probably won't help, and it's no excuse, but I usually just try to think that people like that are just sick, diseased, twisted, and, ultimately, just sad and unhappy. They usually don't even know it. He's still an asshole, though! In one way or another, he will get what's coming to him. Big respect to Taphead for helping you out.

    Anyway, I really hope your not feeling as freaked-out now.

    EDIT TO ADD: Just read your comment, don't give him the sick-satisfaction.
  5.  (10684.18)
    @Dorkmuffin: I hope you manage to get the guy fired, humiliated, blocked and stuck on the sex offenders register. That's a pretty damn repulsive way to behave.

    @Sleestack: just remember that pretty much everyone else is hiding their feelings of inadequacy as well – even the ones who appear to be geniuses. The people who don't are probably dangerous fools anyway.

    This is one of those intensely irritating Friday nights I want to do loads of stuff but I can't because I'm too knackered. So I'm just lying in my beanbag jabbering rubbish on Facebook, trying to get speech recognition software to work for me. I just can't think straight, or clearly at the moment, feels like somebody's sucked out the contents of my mind with a vacuum cleaner. Hope I can feel more coherent tomorrow, I've got loads to do in the garden to try and salvage something from this year's vegetable planting, and a great big pile of really boring admin to get through. At least it's the weekend.
  6.  (10684.19)
    My plus and minuses seem to happen at the same time:
    Oh good god I just can't wait until I switch shifts in two weeks. I'm sick of getting up at 430am.

    Tuesday night, me & the fiance had the most ridiculous argument. Not going to get into details, but you know how it is, if you haven't had an argument in a while, sometimes you just need to have one, and thank God it was stupid. But before we made up, I ended up sleeping on the couch, and didn't sleep at all, and missed work on Wednesday (my first workday of the week). And then, because I had shut off my alarm after calling in sick, my alarm didn't go off on Thursday, and I overslept. I woke up just in time to call a taxi, hop in the shower, get my uniform on, and run out the door. Friday, I woke up early, all bright and shiny, and in a wonderful mood, and wrote the fiance a beautifully romantic email, and everything was awesome. Friday night, I cooked Finagle's Brussel Sprouts, Walnuts & Bacon meal, and that was completely awesome.

    Cheering section:

    Flecky. As always, man, you fight the good fight. Keep it up. There are worst places than rehab, afterall. I look forward to reading your novel when you're done with it. Of course, my brain might melt like a Nazi at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark afterwards, but it will have been worth it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRicochet
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2012 edited
     (10684.20)
    Hi guys, I wasn’t around much last year (or this year for that matter) for a variety of reasons and I’ve finally got myself organised to blather about why when one of the Open Mics was up.

    My news can’t be divided neatly into bad and good because of how it’s all wrapped together so I’ll do bad/good for the stuff that started out shitty and calmed down and good/good for the pure gravy.


    BAD/GOOD

    End of 2010/start of 2011 I started getting sick. Long story short I caught some kind of virus, my arms got all hot and weird and lost all strength, my insides went completely nuts and I came this close to developing a permanent inflammatory condition. For a couple of months I thought I was going to have to quit my job and move back in with my parents. Luckily my body stopped it before it went that far and I slowly recovered with the aid of a super healthy diet and lots of exercise but I’ve still got one blood test score which makes relapsing into an inflammatory condition a possibility.
    So on my doctor’s advice I’ve completely cut out caffeine and alcohol to avoid stressing my system. I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage, any chocolate, or any caffeinated tea or coffee in over a year now.
    It’s been going OK. I miss chocolate and booze but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them with the idea of permanent illness hanging over my head, and I’ve found some decent decaf coffees and teas so I’m doing alright.
    There’s a chance my blood test score will reduce to where I’ll be able to drink again but there’s also a chance that it won’t so I’m not pinning my hopes on it. At least I got to drink my way across Europe with my brother before this happened, if nothing else I got to go to Octoberfest at least once.

    In April of last year my Dad had some routine blood tests which returned a slightly elevated score. His doctor arranged a biopsy and they found some cancer cells in his prostate. They had caught it early, it was at a rather low level and initially the doctors thought they might be able to monitor it and it wouldn’t progress significantly during his life but then it developed a bit and they recommended surgery. This February my Dad had his prostate removed. The surgery went well, he’s recovered nicely and hasn’t had much in the way of some of the side effects men can experience as a result of such surgery.
    Last month he got his first set of post-surgery blood tests back and there is currently no sign of cancer. I have weird superstitions about calling the universe’s attention to things like this by taking them for granted so I’m just relieved and grateful that things have gone well so far.

    In November of last year we had to put my cat Pickles to sleep. He had always had a sensitive stomach but last year he started losing weight and eventually got to the point where his system just wasn't taking nutrients from his food any more. Once he stopped being able to get around comfortably we had to do the right thing and let him go. He was 14 years old and I had had him for exactly half of my life. He was my sweetheart and I miss him but we had a good long time together and I did what was right for him when he needed me to.

    I know if I'd mentioned this stuff to my friends online when it was going on I would have got support and shared tales of similar personal experiences to allow me to contextualise what was going on but when shit happens to me I tend to keep it to myself so I can process it, then I want to deal with it before sharing and then once it's calmed down I sort of feel it's pointless to go on about it seeing as it's 'over' but here I am. It's just the way my brain works *shrug*

    I feel I'm a much stronger person after what's happened. Being that sick taught me patience, the value of not worrying about things before they happen or if you can't do anything about them and a lot about who I am. It helped me deal with what was happening with my Dad, which I wouldn't have coped with so well as the person I was before I got sick.
    It also gave me a tiny tiny idea of what things must be like for my fellow White Chaplains who live with chronic but invisible illnesses. When you don't look sick, people have trouble believing you can really be sick. I'm lucky in that I have family and friends who believed me without question and looked out for me. Some people don't have that and the strength they have to muster to get through this stuff by themselves is inconceivable. Love and respect to you all, I hope you find the support and treatment you require.


    GOOD/GOOD

    This December I’ll be going to Nepal with my father, brother, godfather and my godfather’s son (and probably some other people we know once they get themselves organised) to trek from Lukla to the base camp at Everest.
    I’m really really excited about this. A bit nervous about the possibilty of altitude sickness and so on but who could say no to a chance to go trekking in Nepal? With Sherpas and pack yaks no less!
    Lots of preparatory exercise to do so I’m in decent shape for it but there’s lots of time to do it. I’m going to start early to avoid crapping out or not being fit enough when the time comes.


    HUG/HUG

    @razrangel My sympathies. I hate the unnecessary drama that some people wrap themselves in. They make everybody miserable, including themselves, but only seem to feel fulfilled – not happy mind but fulfilled - when they’re thrashing about in the world.

    @Flecky Good luck, I have my fingers crossed for the rehab place with the gardens.

    @Fauxhammer Yeesh, thank goodness she’s OK. My sister was in a car accident a few years ago in a tiny car. She was OK but the car was folded up like a concertina whilst all the other cars involved wandered off with barely a scratch (she was the third car in a conga line of ‘somebody-decided-to-stop-and-turn-right-at-the-mouth-of-the-street-they-were-passing cock-up’). She bought a sturdier car next time round :-P

    @oldhat Sorry to hear about your friend, Robin. That’s rough.

    @JP Carpenter & @sleestak Good luck, guys. I hope you can shake off the black dog before he gets his teeth properly into you.

    @Dorkmufin Ugh ugh ugh! I'm so sorry that happened to you. I'd just read this comic by Jess Fink and the article she mentions underneath before I read this so I am extra cross on your behalf. Good on you for doing what you've done in response.

    @texture Yay award! Fingers crossed for you finding work.

    @government spy I'm glad you've worked things out with your lady.