“Hello Darkness, My Old Friend”

It’s pretty amazing, the song “The Sound of Silence”. I’ve always really liked it for various reasons, especially the visuals the lyrics provide. Even the “alternate lyrics” versions we came up with in Mixed Company at Prospect High School (I’m looking at you, Anne.).

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the last few days for me have been easy, because they haven’t. They haven’t exactly been the worst days of my life, though, either. At work, my colleague Paula is away on vacation — and we had agreed to this when we hired her, so there are no surprises there — and it has thrown me back into doing both her job and my job. It’s only a week, yes, but sometimes taking it all on feels so very overwhelming for me, especially since there seems to be no end in sight to training up someone while trying to do my own job.
Read Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Around 25 years ago, in late August 1992, I started college (erm, university for you British English speakers out there). It’s a right-of-passage many Americans go through every year when they’re 18, and I’m sure there are many stories about how that first year went for a great many people. Maybe my experience was unique, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

What I can tell you is I remember my Mom crying when I started college at Northern Illinois University. My excitement due to my freedom was tempered by how upset she was. Being the very anxious person I was and continue to be, I wondered if I’d made the right choice. As an aside: my counselor keeps telling me I do things to please other people instead of myself, and I’m not living my life authentically if I keep doing this. On the other side of this argument, I stayed at college because it was what I wanted, even though it did hurt my mother initially (and maybe it was more of a, “Oh my God, my oldest son is 18 and leaving home and I can’t protect him any more”, which I understand but I’ve never been through so I can’t compare that experience to my own experiences).

Sorry. I digress. You should be used to that by now if you read any of my blogs.

Read 25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Living In The Here and Now

I originally wrote this blog in May 2016 but never published it. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but here it is, updated slightly.

Over the past few years I’ve written about emerging from a period of suffering from the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, the result of a lifetime full of anxiety and a short, rather deep bout of depression. (You can read the latest entries: “Recovering from Depersonalisation” and “Reducing Anxiety through ‘Staying Present’“, or any entry on depersonalisation through looking up the tag #depersonalisation on my blog.)

But I want to take you a step back to the 1990s as a kind of example of why living in the here and now is important.

Read Living In The Here and Now

A Happier New Year, 2017 Style

When another New Year rolls around, quite a few of us make resolutions to make this year different from the last.  We’re going to lose weight, or stop drinking so much, or run three times a week.  How often we stick to these resolutions really depends on our outlook and our drive to make such a significant change in our lives.
Read A Happier New Year, 2017 Style

Positive Educational Experiences Can Empower People

We Can Do It!

So, today was one of those really busy days at work.  End of term, which always causes a bit of a kerfluffle around the place, was a little more end-of-term-ish for me as I’m taking a break like everyone else over the school holidays instead of working through like I usually do.  I honestly am burnt out and tired and making lots of mistakes, and since my colleague Lyssa is away overseas for personal reasons, I’ll be dealing with new students the last week in July all by myself administration-wise, so I need to be fresh of mind and spirit for that.

Anyway, I had a surprise visit from a graduate of ours today.  She popped in to get a few things, and it was great to see her looking so happy.

After Jacqui left the school, I took over the interviewing for a while, and this student (let’s call her Rikki) came in for an interview after we received her application.  She was quiet, slightly withdrawn, and wholly unconfident.  Her educational experiences had been, to put it nicely, horrible, and her performance obviously suffered as a result.  I had a feeling, reading between the lines, that she’d probably been called “stupid” or “dumb”, when, in actuality, she was anything but that.

Read Positive Educational Experiences Can Empower People

Learning to Enjoy Things Again

One of the side effects of the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, for me at least, has been the lack of finding enjoyment in many things I used to enjoy.  This has been particularly disturbing for me, as, for those of you who know me can attest, it usually doesn’t take much to amuse me.  That makes me sound rather simple, but, at one time, I would find enjoyment in something as simple as reading a book in my bedroom or listening to music while doodling on a piece of paper.

Yesterday, my counselor asked me point-blank about what I enjoy doing now.  We had been speaking about my falling out of love with Star Trek (something that had been happening for a while, I must admit) while feeling so upset and then overwhelmingly relieved and happy that I was still able to continue portraying Ken Kato in Henglaar, M.D., which, to be honest, was one of the few remaining things I used to like doing that I still enjoy doing.

Read Learning to Let My Guard Down