Millstone
Incidents, 2003 & 2004. Return to Millstone start page.


CÚzanne: skulls in pyramid, ca 1885

2003:

February 4th: A day of walking around the slush on the streets, of escaping from showers of the salty mess thrown up by inconsiderate drivers. Less than three weeks before Dad returns from NZ, and I wonder if I will be re-employed by then.

Mental health, or rather ill-health, affects ones abilities to believe in oneself. I have lately found several other sufferers, and hope that they have fewer problems than I. Frankly, I am tired of waking up in a funk, in despair. I will never take the easy route out, although I must say that recent e-mails from Wired, about web sites that have promoted suicide, have been painful to read. And the deaths, seemingly unnecessary, that have happened with the Shuttle Columbia, the series of avalanches in BC, are a constant reminder that life is of little consequence, simply becoming a brief life in the news services.

Not that I should be so categorical in my statements. My beliefs contradict the likelihood of the hereafter, but I have an engagement to see my daughter Katharine take her first communion in June. Even if I dislike religion, that is an occasion of happiness for her, hein?

Reading about depressives, it would seem we are prone to developing debts, to failing to pursue matters to completion. Odd that, since although I have debts of some substance, I have found that once I start on something, I am likely to finish it. The corollary is that this is often to the disgust of others who think I am wasting my time!! Dad always wondered why I spent thousands of hours working for the BCSRA and the referees in Vancouver in general. Nothing is static, and we are, all of us, individuals and often we contradict the norm. Even if the news we read frequently indicates the prevalence of group (I would rather say mob) behaviour in the commitment of horrors. Think of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and, not least, Northern Ireland.

July 2nd: Have been off work on workers' compensation, with monies received from the WISB, the Ontario body responsible for helping injured workers. Now, they will only allow me eight weeks of benefits, but the injury is not responding well. So what will I end up doing? There are only three weeks left on benefits. At this rate, returning to the, often poorly paid, moving business could easily cause a recurrence of the injury to my lower back. Exacerbated by the sciatica I have suffered from of late, and related closely to five particular vertebrŠ.

All of this is affecting my mental health. Add: money problems; job hunting very difficult, especially given rampant ageism; relationship with father; what is happening to my younger daughter Katharine? Seems to be missing me greatly. What is happening to my elder daughter Sarah, now a mature woman, living in London? Not heard much from her, except a call on Fathers Day.

A friend, a professor at Carleton, has advised me that my extremely rapid diagnosis for double depression, made in Ottawa, see 2001 comments on Millstone page, was quite possibly faulty. The question concerns my serotonin levels and the fact that there is a test that would determine whether I have a problem with them. There is no doubt that I have a problem with depression, but the prognosis might need reassessment.

July 20th: Sunday, a day of rest. The last couple of days, from Friday onwards, have been difficult. The black dog has returned with a vengeance, exacerbated from Dad stating that me being upset consequently upsets him. I do not need this kind of pressure. Stiff upper lip, and what it implies, is a disaster to those who are not that kind. The cause has been an email from someone dear to me, and a telephone call about a debt I owe. As if I can do anything about either. Fact, not surmise.

July 23rd: Wednesday: Off to the physio to see whether I am fit enough to return to work. Today is assessment day. Anxiety rules between my ears. Something I can not advise my father about, since he is prone to worrying himself, if not to death, then close by. I wish that I could have myself tested again, maybe that's a possibility when I talk to Dr JJ about my final approval for work. We'll see.

2004:

January 12th: Monday, after physio, which only lasts until February 2nd., and see this page about my life with injuries obtained at work. If one is as afflicted with anxiety as I have been, and not knowing whether one was covered by WSIB payments, then one can imagine the stresses I have felt. There have been gaps, the latest during December and early January, which have exacerbated both my physical and my mental health. No need to belabour the matter, but I am constantly wondering if I will ever be gainfully employed again. This year I turn 62, and with my debts and never ending necessary payments, I am in a state of constant worrying. Of course, I can never relay this to my father, he would go spare himself. What the hell, there are many worse off than I.

January 31st: This is a Saturday, after a lamentable game of soccer on the tube: ManUtd v S'hampton. Farcical decisions by the referee and his assistants. There was supposed to be a marriage today, of a tall, well-matched couple that will frequent Elgin Street, in their dream world, once their stress levels sink to normal. If they don't put any progeny in daycare then they will be superhuman, and will stop the social rot that is creeping through society like a death wish. Kids need their parents. Well, I wish I did, but having had a history of not being able to talk, or converse, or whatever something meaningful would be, how do you think I feel about Papa's upcoming return from New Zealand on February 6th? This has been a week of mental horrors, and I have only just started to come out of the Inn of the Black Dog. As well, I find it really more and more difficult to handle being with other people: there are some who have taken advantage of my ready smile, not knowing the possible psychopath hidden behind the optic nerve.

April 15th: This is a Thursday, and I took Dad's car to the autowash, in preparation for selling it for him. The poor man is desolate because his eyes have become so damaged.  The fact that my father is constantly harping on his feeling really old these days is also worrisome. Even though it is Spring, and the plants are about to wake, seems immaterial. There is football (UK and non American variety) and we are at the interesting part of the season when the usual suspects are likely to be relegated or the leaders stumble. So, that keeps him alert and interested, at times. One other good thing is that I have been dropping something into his right ear each night. Lo and behold, he tells me his hearing is improving. Even if he is up within fifteen minutes to dry it out.
My mental state is again fragile. The thought of losing everything I have preys upon me. Furthermore, I am not pleased that my youngest daughter is phoning and wanting to see me, and the latest cards, mailed or handed over to me, prove there is a problem.
It was not I that split the marriage (although the issues relating to my employment record and mental health are important negative factors). It is not I that has placed Katharine in the situation that denies her the use of a computer, or of my library, help with soccer, and any other matters appertaining to the development of a person now with only one available parent.
There is a move afoot in England to change the arrangements that seemingly show preference to the mother rather than the father. The change would state that both households are treated as of equal standing for the transparent use by any and all of the children. Anyway, I really don't like the situation whereby Katharine grows up not knowing me: I compare this with the situation extant with my elder daughter, and the attendant problems directly relating to my absence (when she was young I left for Canada). I will admit that most, if not all of the problems relating to Sarah can be placed at my door: I was too stupid (ie. medicated by drink), and unthinking, two or three decades ago.

June 12th: This is a story about one of the most successful writers of the day. And an amazing one for those of us that can immediately recognize ourselves in her experiences. Now, know oneself, indeed. I have been putting things off, because of similar circumstances, for years. So, bloody well do something then, I hear you say. On another page, which you may easily have found previously, is a statement about collections officers and their minions. I am having to deal with another one, highly irritating and belittling, too: Nasty letter on its way to them. This kind of pressure bleeds ones concentration, nicht wahr?

June 15th: This is a confounding story about mental health and work in the UK. On, and then off until after the next election. Not important, huh?

August 18th: This is the month where everything is going in all directions. As  I expected, money is the root of my troubles. None left at this date of the month, and no expectation until the pension cheque arrives, possibly before the final weekend. Now, there was a phone call about a possible job, but we shall not hold our breath. I have been going about knocking on doors, filling in forms, and emailing CVs, to the point where it is becoming fairly clear that this is not how one can find a job. With, today, my sciatica giving me gyp, and then finding that carrying anything was impossible, the end is nigh, what? To wake up sweating, with one's affected leg aching, with a sense of tension that is immediately engulfing: constant pressure. What, however, can be compared with how the people of Darfur are dealing with? With how those slaughtered in DR Congo by Hutus can have dealt with their last memories? It is all relative, isn't it?

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