Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Sobering Thought.

I sincerely hope that you are settling in nicely to the year that is Two Thousand and Eighteen.  It has taken me eleven days to actually concentrate enough to do a posting.

This year is a milestone for me.  Or, if you speak in metric, a kilometrestone for me, I suppose.  For, as of June eighteen, it will be exactly twenty years since I last consumed alcohol.  Twenty years since I got stretchered out of my home and rushed to hospital.  But hey, who's keeping track.

On the actual date of my twentieth anniversary, I shall put up a harrowing yet uplifting post to mark an occasion that I hope may well give hope to those who think it's hopeless to even attempt to combat addiction and the underlying causes.

Even now, after all these years, I'm still raw with the pain I caused to others and to myself.  To this very day, I'm an extreme combination of fragility and resilient strength.  I've spent nearly twenty years trying to compensate, to prove to those that I love, to myself, that I could seek out and find the good man that had been hidden away during those frightening days of alcohol abuse. 

If somebody had told me, as I lay in a hospital bed, on the verge of death, that twenty years later I'd be writing about how I defeated alcohol, I'd of never believed them.

When I left hospital, I had two choices.  I could of chosen to continue drinking and die a painful, agonising death or choose the exhilarating freedom of being sober.  I chose freedom.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Another Chance. A New Beginning.

And thus, 2017 is about to enter the history books.  A year like no other.  A year where if felt like we were all cast members in some strangely weird and rather worrying blockbuster movie. A year where real news and fake news blended into one surreal concoction of confusion, sprinkled with a large dose of political propaganda, led by the delusional, ego-maniac, bungling buffoon named Trump.  Yep, what a horrible thought, things that go Trump in the night. 

Now, you and I are on the dawn of the New Year of 2018.  The personal journey you travelled over the past year may now indicate that the pathway has ended.  You might decide to make a new pathway choice.  Do you go left?  Do you go right?  Do you turn around and go back down the original pathway and reevaluate the experience? 

I do know that, just like the beginning of every new year, I cling onto the dream of a world where, instead of humanity being in conflict, humanity celebrates the beautiful power of an all different, all equal planet.  A place where no longer shall the most vulnerable in society pay for the mistakes of the incompetent fortunate. 
On behalf of Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar and my beloved son Tristan, we wish you a peaceful, positive 2018.

Another chance.  A new beginning......

Friday, 22 December 2017

Wee Folks Christmas Wish, 2017.

Ah, the blessed wee folks. The celebration of life's little wonders are truly cherished by Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess, her loving husband, Geoffrey the garden gnome and their boy child, Einahalk. Rejoice and treasure the precious gift that is life. 

Love doth bloom.  A budding, ongoing romance is there right before our eyes.  
Cheeky monkey in a group hug with a couple of gnome wee folks. 
I fondly recall the times the wee folks played, danced and sang in the magical, enchanted garden where once they did live. 
These days, the wee folks congregate on the living room floor of my apartment. Their Christmas festivities captivate as I gazed into the magic of it all. 

Here's Penny the Jack Russell dog.  Penny, symbolic of the lessons about her approach to life of one of non-judgemental, unconditional love.  Note her and three of the wee folks.  How content they all look

Indeed, Fidelina, the beautiful fairy Princess, Geoffrey the garden gnome and Einahalk, wish for you, for all of us, to learn to live in peace.  To embrace and learn from each other in an all different, all equal, inspiring diversity  
And Penny, beautiful, loving Penny, believes in you, believes in me.  Believes that "humankind" will be just that. It must be our legacy for our children. 
A snowy night
A glistening delight
Immerse yourself in this sight
Time to make our world just right
As we seek to find
A love aligned
The wee folks want us to comprehend
That, together we shall create a magical blend
Foes become friends
As we make amends
Help each other
Sister to sister and brother to brother
The wee folks and Penny, wish you well
As you dwell
In contemplation
A better world for the next generation
Help each other, we help ourselves
As told to us by the fairies and the elves. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Door Is Ajar.

Finally, at long last, it appears that the door is a jar.  Nope, try again, the door is ajar.

The door that had kept me closed in, trapped in my own anxiety, laced with a liberal dose of negative speculation, is now ever so slightly open.  Through the ever so slightly opened door, I embrace that glimmer of a new hope in a new reality.

The past year and a half have tested my mental health well being to the wildest, scariest extremes of paranoid, panicky despair. Government bureaucracy, lack of communication, passport problems and the what feels like the never ending saga of staring at planks, at scaffolding......

The anxiety, oh the anxiety lingers.  The past year and a half have impacted me profoundly.  And yet, I've battled against the injustice that toyed with my right to a peaceful, positive life.  Despite struggling with the overwhelming sense of being imprisoned in my own very personal world of impending insanity, I'm nearly back.  I'm amazed at my resilience as I now have my benefit entitlements sorted.  That is such a relief.

As for the scaffolding and the planks outside my apartment, I've been informed that they will start working on the roof in February, 2018.  By the time it's all over, I will have been stuck staring at the wood and metal monstrosity for ten months!  It transpires that there has been an insurance claim issue as to who is responsible for the cost of fixing the roof.

The recovery after such a tedious, tumultuous time will be one of gently taking care of myself.  The mental and physical exhaustion makes typing every word one small yet significant triumph in my passionate desire to get on with my life.

For the next little while, my posts will still be sporadic at best.  Although, the wee folks have assured me that they will be doing there annual Christmas wish posting.

I want to thank you for your understanding.  I've been most frustrated that personal situations have made it virtually impossible to even contemplate writing a post.  I'm truly sorry I've been very much lacking in interacting with other blogs.  If the truth be known, I'm embarrassed to have the comments section switched on considering my lack of being proactive.

If it wasn't for the company and supportive advice of Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, I may just have stayed under the duvet instead of noticing that the door is ajar.
Thank you, Penny and thank you, my friend on the other side of my computer screen.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Change Of Circumstances.

Hi there, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar's human dad!

I've absolutely no doubt that you've been thinking, to the point of an obsessive tendency "Hmmmm...I do wonder when Gary, aka klahanie, will finally put up another post.  He's been way off the blogging radar...."

Well, I'm still mostly off the blogging radar.   This year has been a momentous struggle that has left me emotionally and physically exhausted.  It has been one farcical, stressful situation that, just as I thought I was about to see a resolution, baffling bureaucracy scuppered the obvious resolutions I visualised.

I've filled in a questionnaire that dredged up pain I wanted to move on from.  I've been to a face to face assessment that deemed me, a man deeply traumatised from workplace bullying, fit to go back to paid work.  Yep, back to work, a few months before my retirement age.  And yep, I went and saw a "work coach" twice.

It has transpired, that in actuality, I didn't need to see a work coach.  I have been subjected to needless, panic-inducing stress for no reason at all.  Nobody in the government bothered to tell me, that based on my age, I didn't need to go through the past few months of total hell. Thank goodness I'd done some research.

I will, starting on November 6, be receiving the proper money I'm entitled to, without going through anymore crap from our government.  Yes, I'm nearly back with the exception of one idiotic situation that should be rectified in the next few days.

Because I was about to have a change of circumstances, I knew I had to inform my local council of the changes.  I phoned the council and asked if I could see someone in person in regards to the changes that needed to be reported.  That's what you could do in the good old days.

The lady I spoke to told me I had to report everything online.  I switched on my computer last Tuesday and proceeded to try and report everything online.  Trouble is, the online form had some sort of software error.  I tried several times on Tuesday, on Wednesday, on Thursday and on Friday.  I finally gave up and phoned the local council, yet again. This was now late Friday afternoon.

Somewhat laughably, I got a message stating that all their operators were busy and it was quicker to go online, or if I wanted to wait to talk to somebody, then please stay on the line.  You bet I stayed on the line!

Finally, after several minutes, I actually talked to a human.  I told her that I couldn't report my changes online.  Turns out that she was aware of this and asked me to bring in any evidence as soon as I had it.

This past Monday morning, I received a letter in the post in regards to my new benefit.  On Monday afternoon, I took the letter to the council office. The lady at reception was also aware of the software error.  She asked if I had my reference code with me that I'd been using on the online form that wouldn't work.  I didn't but I did tell her I remembered the last three letters in the code were "FLU" and that the whole process had made me feel ill.  I now wait a confirmation letter from the council stating that they realise I have a change of circumstance.  And so it goes.

I've missed blogging.  Should be back with a fresh outlook very soon.  Oh, for one more time, the comments are switched off. 

Oh my, did I get sick of staring at this. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Work Coach.

I'm having one hell of a battle with the evil symptoms of chronic fatigue.  I'm asleep when I need to be awake.  I'm awake when I really should be sleeping.  It feels like I have permanent jet-lag.  And yet, despite the times I've actually managed to find the energy to see a doctor, there has been no obvious cause as to why I feel awful all the time.

After yet, after another one of my erratic sleeps, I can barely get out of bed as the ensuing panic attack is terrifying.

2017 has been a year filled with one anxiety-heightened incident, followed by another anxiety-heightened incident.  I'm still staring out at planks.  My apartment has had no significant light since early May.  The faulty fire alarms were changed and the new fire alarms are actually acting worse than the previous fire alarms.  This means, not only am I being overwhelmed by claustrophobia, I'm now paranoid that the changed fire alarms will go off at any moment.

During some brief moments where the chronic fatigue was a little less pronounced, I managed to gather the energy to lodge a formal complaint about the scaffolding and planks that are starting to haunt me.  That was back on September 6.  I have not got a reply back.  As for the new smoke alarms, evidently somebody is supposed to come and check out the latest fire alarm farce this coming Wednesday.

But wait, that's not all.  Yes, 2017 has been a major shit storm.  Way back in early February, I got a questionnaire from our government's benefit department.  Yep, time to fill in another long-winded questionnaire that,  just like all the other long-winded questionnaires, dredged up the pain of the past.  A past dominated by workplace bullying that nearly destroyed all that was precious in my life.

Then came the nervous wait to see if I still qualified for the benefits that I wish I didn't need.  Month after worrying month passed by.  The post through the door was enough to send me into a state of panic. Then, in mid-July, a letter arrived, in the dreaded brown envelope.  I had to go to face-to face assessment.  An assessment, just like all those questionnaires, that would dredge up the painful past.

Friday, August 4, the day of my face-to-face assessment, with a healthcare professional.  This would be 90 minutes of emotional torture.  I told the man about some of the incidents of workplace bullying that has caused me to have a total breakdown.  A total breakdown that cost me my marriage, my home, my life savings, my health, physical and mental and very nearly, the remaining shattered remnants of my dignity.

I told the man that the idea of being forced to go back to some sort of paid work terrified me.  He briefly looked through the 43 pages of medical evidence I had brought along.  The meeting ended and the next worrying wait began.

About three weeks later, the next brown envelope came through my letterbox.  It was an appointment to see a "work coach".  Based on my face-to-face assessment, the benefits department had determined that I was capable of getting back to paid work.  I nearly fainted with the anxiety this caused.

On August 30, I headed off to my meeting with the work coach at the job centre in Stoke on Trent. Much to my surprise, I felt quite calm about going to the meeting.  The reason being is that I knew that my attending such a meeting was more of a cruel joke than anything else.

You see and yes, I know, hard to believe, but I'm 64 and only a few months away from retirement age.  Aha, a certain Beatles song will now start going through your head.

I arrived at the job centre.  I encountered a group of folks looking rather disoriented as they waved cans of extra strong cider in front of me.  Yep and that was just the office staff.  Okay, in case someone from the benefits department reads this, I'm kidding.

Right then, I walked into the building.  A confusing set-up where there was no obvious reception.  I saw a lady standing by the stairs.  I asked her where the reception was and she rather boringly pointed up the stairs.  I went up the stairs and there was still no obvious reception desk.  I saw a guy sitting at a desk that I guessed might be some sort of reception desk.  I guessed correctly.  I told him I had to see a work coach named, Louise.  He pointed to me to go up the stairs.  When I went up the next flight of stairs, I saw loads of desks.  Mostly empty desks.  Way off in the distance, beyond the mostly empty desks, was a desk with a sign that stated the name, "Louise".  Yeah, finally, I had arrived at the destination.

After Louise finished chatting to two other people in a very open environment where I could hear every word, she finally summoned me.  Upon realising my age, she noted that I was there because of what was most likely a computer generated letter based on my face-to-face assessment.  What's required of me is that I come in and tell her how I'm doing.  No pressure to go find a job so close to retirement age.

I mean, can you imagine.  I go work for a company for about six months and then I get a gold watch upon retirement.

Yes, it's been harrowing but, thankfully, although my benefit money has been reduced, I'm still getting benefits.  To make this even more bizarre, I'm going to seek some legal advice because it now transpires that I probably didn't need to go through all this stressful crap.  I did some research when I had my money reduced and discovered, that based on my age, I could actually get what's called, "pension credit."  Pension credit pays more than what I'm getting.

How the hell I managed to type this much, what with this ridiculous chronic fatigue, is beyond me.  You might well have scrolled through this and checked out the best bits.

And yes indeed, I'm switching off the comments section.  I want to get to your blog and do something weird like leave a comment on yours.  Unless you've switched off your comments section.

I also want to thank Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar for taking over while I'm this exhausted.  Planks a lot, Penny!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Is That The Planks I Get.

Hi there, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar.  My human dad, Gary, has been a bit too preoccupawed with worrying about situations that may never happen.  I've told him to stop the negative speculation and focus on the realistic, pawsitive pawsibilities that may well come of his needless worry.

Although and I understand why he's struggling with an overwhelming sensation of claustrophobia in our apartment.

Luckily, the faulty fire alarm has not gone off while I've been here.  That would make my ears flap like you wouldn't believe! The faulty fire alarm still needs to be checked out.
This is the view outside the bedroom window.  A pawculiar, pawplexing  pawnorama of planks. Gary, a bit of a plank himself, took the above photo whilst lying on the bed.  This pawticular, pawculiar, pawplexing pawnorama of planks has been on view for over five months.

It all began when some workers had to fix our ceiling back then.  It now turns out that the entire roof of the apartment building needs fixing.  Thus, management has had the scaffolding left up.  They didn't think it made any sense to bring it down only to have it put back up again. But after over five months...well...that's now bordering on totally ridiculous!
The view from the bedroom window.  Beyond the scaffolding, beyond the planks and beyond the trees, you can see St. Lukes church in this here town named Leek.
Looking out of the living room window.  The orange building with the light coloured roof is the last place my human dad worked.  It's where the torment of workplace bullying ended for him.

Above, you see a whole series of photos and the scenery obscured by scaffolding.  A number of trees were cut back and the view in the distance has become more obvious.  A shame that my human dad has a clearer view and a reminder of the place where the bullying ended because his doctor signed him off too sick to work. 

Then again, I'll get him to focus on all those pawsitive pawsibilities that are going to happen.

I'm sorry that Gary hasn't been commenting on blogs much lately.  I'll take over commenting while he revels in the irony of what happened a few days ago.  Hey, the latest farcical situation he finds himself him will make for one heck of a blog pawst.  So, that's a pawsitive thing....

Planks a lot
Is what we got
Silly scaffold ruins the view
What can you do
You wait and wait
Aint that great
Maybe some day
It'll go away