Hopefully this will be the start of a new blogging career for me! I would like to use it as a means to communicate a couple of things I am interested in. One is Power Systems in Scotland and the other is discussing and promoting the work I, and the charities I work with, do.
I came into the job I do now which is presales for Power Systems around the same time that I decided to try and make myself a better individual. I know that sounds extremely corny, but its true. I was suffering and continue to suffer from severe depression. This may to some be a rather stark or personal admission to make but the reason I am laying this all out is in the hope that someone at some point may find this useful. Throughout my posts I will, in my own rambling way, drop into history now and then to try and provide some context and then pop back to the present. If you like people who come to the point quickly I may not be to your taste.
So back to the corniness of making myself a better person. The depression is key here. I went for over a decade without trying to tackle it. The best I could do to not get totally caught up in the miasma was to build a defense that in essence didn't let me feel bad. The problem was that it didn't let me feel good either. Come to think of it it didn't really let me feel anything except if things got so bad that the walls didn't hold any more. Essentially I was left with life with no colour interspersed with periods that were terrible. If you have experienced something similar you will know what I mean by that word. Going into the rheumatic thoughts that accompany this I don't think would help here other than to say that they just get worse unless you have a way of fighting back. For a long period of time I didn't.
This was my fault in a way. I wouldn't seek any help as I thought no one knows my mind better than me. Its hard to explain how much your logic gets altered when you are in that frame of mind. To you at the time you are being totally reasonable. When you are out of the depths and feeling better its hard to replicate the same thought process. Several things were going on for me. One of them was complete and total avoidance of pretty much everything. This included the recognition of the problem. It wasn't until the birth of my first daughter that my will hardened enough to ask for help. Try to understand that not dealing with it or anything for that matter is easier. May not make a lot of sense, but its how I felt and I don't doubt others do as well. The other thing to understand is that at some point you realise that you have a problem, but instead of going for help you use that as a reason to beat yourself up. For example you know you should be doing more, but you don't as you feel you won't do a good enough job or its not worth it as its going to be rubbish. The fact that you feel this way is bad enough, but by not going for help you are making it worse and therefore you making others suffer around you so you are a bad human being. With all that going on it was hard to get up and pick up that phone and get a doctors appointment.
Sorry if that sounds like a poor me paragraph. Anyway this is where IBM came good for me. They provide a program that gives you ten sessions of face to face counseling and also helped me get the health plan to get me into a CBT course at the Priory. That plus the the medication the doctor prescribed is enough to keep me moving forward. That sounds like a magic quick fix combination, but the truth is its a long process and that approach may work for me and not someone else. The good news is that it has worked for me and there are other ways to combat depression. The painful and seemingly impossible first step for many is actually looking for the help. Its worth it though if you do.
As I was saying a few lines ago, it wasn't until the birth of my first daughter that I summoned the strength to start fighting back. I couldn't bear going through her life without experiencing it fully. For that reason I went for the help. Part of the Compulsive Behavioural Therapy I undertook was looking at how I could feel better about myself so I had to suggest things I might like to do. I thought I would like to do some charitable work. Another aspect was goals and one of these was to be a better person. I am still on that one :) The charity work as well as having its own reward helps to give me something quantifiable that I can try and let myself feel proud about. I am currently trying to effect permanent change through doing - its taking a while!
The end result of the CBT was me going out into the world and signing up for some different organisations. The first was the Volunteer Tutors Organisation based in Glasgow. I then joined the BCS and through them found a small charity call IT Can Help. With that one you travel about helping people with disabilities solve computer problems. From that I got into taking the odd IT job for the IT4C. The sites aim is to connect IT professionals with charities. Well worth a look. Along with that for the last couple of years I have been running the Silver Surfers scheme in IBM which sends out IBM volunteers to sheltered accommodation to give IT taster sessions. These volunteers are amazing and I really appreciate everything they do.
So for the future. I am going to attempt to keep this blog up. It will contain news of charity work and Power Systems. If you got to here then you have my thanks for reading :)