Sunday

So here I am. I have some work to do. Something about a patient/client case study. I am supposed to use the clinical reasoning skills I have been taught. Sort of Sherlock Holmes the nurse. I will be presenting it later in the week. Motivation is an issue.

I went home for the weekend. I felt ill, I did my laundry and that was all. I curled up in bed, in the hammock or on the sofa. I took 'Cold and Flu' pills which bought my temperature down a bit. I notice things like that now. On my phone I read about the steady progress of the Ebola pandemic. I read of the symptoms and wondered if Grafton had it's own strain. When my eyes got too scratchy I listened to podcasts. I listened to a Guardian Journo talking about Edward Snowden. Eventually my headache was too horrible so I read stuff again. It is a common cold, I have been waiting for it to run it's course. Tomorrow is my first day in a new position. I will have to dose myself up with more pills and try not to cough, sniff or sneeze.

I'm not making sense anymore. I cannot remember what I am writing this for. I learned a new phrase last trimester, "Pressured Speech". When a person cannot get the words out fast enough, the ideas keep piling up and the words come pouring out. I may have a milder version of this at times. It makes it hard to organise ones thoughts. Being sick and tired does not help either.

Incongruence

I was just reading about the six conditions that Karl Rogers believes are required for therapeutic personality change. Skipping right over the obscene phrase, "therapeutic personality change" I would like to have-at-it with the second condition, which is not to say I don't have problems with other aspects of the conditions. The conditions are as follows:

  • Two persons are in psychological contact.
  • The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.
  • The second person, whom we shall term the therapist, is congruent or integrated in the relationship.
  • The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client.
  • The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference and endeavors to communicate this experience to the client.
  • The communication to the client of the therapist's empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved.

If we examine the second condition in which the client is in a state of incongruence, they are vulnerable or anxious. I wonder who decides upon the incongruence of the clients actual experience verses the representation of their experience? I am not sure any party could fully understand both points of view. You are either and living within the experience or just the audience.

For example, supposing I, as a client, presented to a therapist for help in a state of agitation I may be suicidal and inconsoleable. I had decided that my life was desolate and pointless with no reason for carrying on. On further discussion the therapist discovers that I believe my reason for being had recently disappeared. I had always felt I had done my best to be an awesome father. I believed my fantastic parenting skills would result in fantastic kids. My kids would not only become doctors or pilots but they would also campaign for a better world and bring about change on a scale never before seen by humanity. I had essentially put everything into parenting my kids and laid aside my own plans and dreams for world domination. The plan was that the kids would become 'Me 2.0' - new and super-improved. Of course the plans turn to dust in the face of reality.

I have normal kids and they are much like I was. This is the part where an inner voice pops up and starts banging on about being grateful for happy healthy kids. Another inner voice which has been lurking since before the kids is lurking deep down and it is also asking, "What is the point? Why even bother? See I told you this would happen, everything you ever do is ultimately pointless.". So what is going on?

I have always struggled to find a reason for living. Some attempts at finding a reason to life may include:

  • Joining an organised religion/cult. They are either lying or misguided.
  • Studying Buddhism. They mean well but their reality does not suit me.
  • Taking up causes to try to make the world better. Nothing changed.
  • Working hard and loyally at my job. My job is unrewarding and shallow.
  • Having kids and raising them well. They grow up and ignore the values you thought you had so skillfully instilled into them.

I look back on my life and recognise my constant attempts to find meaning, I cannot find meaning so what is left for me to do? All that is left for me to do is to stop.

If I display vulnerability and anxiety is this incongruent with my inner feelings of futility and emptiness? I think not. This must mean I do not require a therapist. I need a philosopher.

Breakdown

Agrippa was feeling petulant, he wanted somebody to feel his frustration. All morning he demanded it but nobody was listening. Then Ben walked walking past the kitchen table with a criticism. He quickly stepped behind the irritating old git and head-butted him between the shoulder blades. With a shout of pain and anger Ben swung round and struck him in the side of the head with his elbow. Suzy, who had barely begun her bleatings at Agrippa , quickly switched targets and let out a howl of indignation for her youngest child. Agrippa knew the cue, he clutched his head and cried loudly. Perhaps he overdid it a little because after a while Ma told him so. He allowed himeself a small smile amongst the tears for he was quite sure they could now feel his frustration too. If only he would be allowed to play Minecraft forever.

Flaneurs of the World Unite

I have yet to read the Flaneur book I gave Suzy. She seemed to enjoy it, I would like to read it before my studies begin again.

There really ought to be time in ones life for walking and art.

In Which I Drink Tea

Mr Dilmah provides the finest leaves of tea, I do enjoy it. I think tea must be the best stimulant available to humankind. It has ben consumed since forever and it has remarkably few adverse effects. Oddly enough it does not appear to do much in the way of stimulation either and yet I am thoroughly addicted to the warmth and comfort of a fine cup of tea. Thank you forefathers for this remarkable plant.

That's that then

A friend of mine died last night, he was an old fellow who lived up Coro Ave. Eighty five years old he was. On this blog I'll call him Alfred, we became friends after he mentored Choppy and I down on the sand dunes. He was passionate about regenerating the foreshores of our local beach, he showed us the Bitou bush and how to kill them. He shared with me his love for Sawtell.

Over the years the knobbly knees on his long gangly legs began to grate and grind. Alfreds knees were buggered and constantly frustrated him. With the aid of a wheely frame we tried walking together down to the surf club, it was incredibly difficult for him. He knew it was his last walk to the surf club saying simply, "That's that then".

The next day a visiting health worker told him he would have to go into care. Alfred fell into a final depression which ended a few days later with him tumbling out of bed and cracking his head. He had been popping the warfarin like lollies so he bled freely and fell unconscious. I visited Alfred a few times during the day in the hospital. He never reagined consciousness and died in the evening surrounded by his family who had rushed to be with him.

Relate

Suzy,

It's Sunday lunchtime. I've been writing utter rubbish all day. Trying to batter my brain into essay writing action with coffee. Now I am shaky and sick. I wanted to text you but you left your phone on the bed and Mike left his bag with phone in the kitchen. Now I feel unreasonably jealous, inadequate and lonely. Right now I feel that I am just an interloper in yours and Rodneys relationship. I am afraid to tell you just how sad I am because I do not want your sympathy, I just want everything to be right with us. I feel it is not though. Even as I type that I know I am being unreasonable, but that is what jealousy is: a lonely stupid rollercoaster. I do not know how I can make this work for us.

I just want a simple life, I want to be able to talk to the person I love and not feel as if I am circumscribing another relationship.


Evening.

I drew a map of our relationship today. Agrippa was at the heart of our three rings of influence, adjacent to an intersecting triangle of pain.

I clumsily tried to talk to you about this when you got home. I stuffed it up completely, I'm sure I did. I tried to flirt and talk sexy but I have no idea what I'm doing or how to do it or perhaps that's what you intended in your responses. You then told me (in the guise of a joke?) that you just wanted to break up. Alfred then turned up with a bottle of wine so I (like the insincere prick I am) switched on the faux cheer and talked with him about postmodernism and studying.

I just want this essay to be done and to work this stuff out with you and Rodney. Now I'm at the computer again unable to write my stupid essay. I feel so sad, perhaps we should break up, you'd not have to listen to my moaning and I could not feel any worse.

Ben

An Emotional Price

So this is what it has come to. I went into this, my initial trimester of study, in the midst of a twisted and broken relationship. I finished yesterday. Nothing has changed. I just put my feelings on pause for, how long? Three and a half months. Studying has kept me busier and more purposeful than I have ever been. It has enabled me to ignore how lonely, angry and sad I am about my life with Suzy.

I emotionally blackmailed Agrippa into coming out with me last night. He wanted to stay home to play on the computer or watch telly. He suspected his second Dad would let him. I suspect he would have too. We met some nursing students at Winn's, Suzy served us and I joked that it was the only time she did. This is of course untrue. I did not want Agrippa to get bored so we went in search of after dinner ice cream before going home.

When Agrippa and I got home from Winn's we had a short play on Minecraft together, it was fun. I'd had a busy day looking after John Lee who is running out of life. He tells me old age is not for wimps. His knees are shot so he falls over most days. John tells me he died over a month ago. I think he is talking about life.

I made Agrippa a hot water bottle after reading him a little of "Flowers for Algernon". Suzy and Rodney were both cuddling him goodnight when I went to give it to him. A sacharine scrum that I am not a part of. Suzy said she was tired from work. I chatted to her as she showered, I told her how nice her tummy looked as she dried herself off. We went to bed, but Suzy wanted to check the tennis first. So she began to read the scores off the Roland Garros website. She was disappointed it was not televised. I tried to find an audio stream on my phone in bed. Suzy began to send text messages to Rodney, who had gone to bed in the shed. She told him the score. I stopped looking for audio streams and just listlessy poked at my screen. Suzy became excited about the tennis, Rodney texted back he had found an audio stream.

The tennis goes on all night. Suzy said, "You won't make me pay an emotional price for this in the morning will you?" I was silent for a bit. Three and a half months on pause and now this fucked up relationship continues. "No, I'll try not to".

Cryogenecist

A young man when he died. His mother the cryogenecist (look this up Agrippa) loved bob dearly. She broke conventions and taboos when she preserved her sons' brain for future recovery. She knew she had succeeded and spent the rest of her life developing procedures to enable the recovery of her sons life.

Fury

Fury is an ugly filthy monster. I pretend my fury does not exist. I ignore it, down inside my dark recesses but today it got out. My calm exterior hid the boiling fury inside me. I casually hurt the one most dear to me. When the damage was done my son hated me and so did I.

Now I have to meet a client. I must pour oil onto my troubled waters. I must pretend I am happy and confident. I will be happy and confident. My converstion will be light because that is what is required of me. My lying will feed the pain I hide. The pain will look for a way to come up for air and when it breaks the surface I will be broken again.