Ten Days

I had looked at calendar and thought ‘ooh I have a bit of time before going on holiday’.

So I went and loaded Tinder app and did a profile. This time around I didn’t take the paid option and stayed ‘free’ but with no features.

I did all the things that were needed to be completed and in the free text added my height. Six pictures, all in past year.

Carousel of pictures gave me a few that I knew in real life and I swerved those options.

So, the first night hope, actually reading profiles before swiping and looking at photographs to work out what was recent.

By day ten, I’d had enough. Two ‘likes’ and I figured one would disappear if I took a paid subscription.

The two likes

The offer of half priced subscriptions came at about day 10 too.

It’s much more attractive than the regular price, but from trying last October I knew even that has limitations.

Offer

Again, a question of balancing my thoughts and feelings towards these apps.

Behaviours are human, lack of interest, over shooting at people that aren’t interested, profiles that are left by people and time/attention seekers.

My thoughts are to try up the scale, but whether Match, e-harmony or whatever are right, I don’t know.

Zoosk and Hinge I’ve tried before and I doubt either would be a step up from Bumble and Tinder.

I think it’s the next thing to consider.

Failing always brings a low though, and I think my mind defaults to ‘not good enough’, ‘unworthy’, ‘useless’ and a whole pile of negativity from feeling ugly to thinking I’m undateable.

And I do need recovery time from trying things like that. Try and rebuild a little bit confidence or just feel up to it.

I guess my thinking is headed toward ‘maybe it’s not for me’ and that perhaps I have to accept how it is and remove any pressure from myself.

At same time I’m railing against that sort of thinking knowing it’s negative and knowing that I’m not happy and that I should be trying to ‘fulfill this need’.

I suppose ‘this need’ could be from someone to text call, someone to be with, to dates, intimacy and even a sex life.

Whoah.

Yes, there’s a pile of stuff in there to unpick. Yes, I need company, contact, friendship. Yes, I’d like some sort of relationship, but I have to balance that with my responsibilities and I can’t just fall for someone without thinking of the kids etc.

Intimacy and a sex life, again is a thing that may be an ‘unfulfilled need’ but you kinda need the relationship or friendship first.

So, one doesn’t come without another and I’m unsure any ‘friend with benefits’ or **** buddy could really be an option.

I don’t think I’m that clinical and separating feelings from intimacy would be difficult.

It’s almost a cycle of thoughts, loneliness and being on own, wanting to do something about it, doing the apps, leaving the app unfulfilled and back to the loneliness and it’s whether running through that cycle in a regular basis is a good idea or good for my mental health and well-being.

I have to think of my primary task as a parent carer, I have to think of my own condition and my own limitations too.

I’ve always been realistic on distances and age ranges on these apps and thinking age appropriate and also what stands a chance of working.

It may just be the photographs, it may be my age, it may be both, I don’t think I can remove myself enough to judge how I present and how that looks to a person I’d be interested in.

So, yeah it hurts, and yeah it’s good that I wanted to try.

I hope I don’t sound that I’m entitled to someone, or entitled to a relationship or sex.

I’m aware I’d be seen as unwanted/involuntarily celibate. I may hope or wish or would like that to change but I know my own limitations and understand that I have ‘baggage’.

I write this now that I’m holiday with kids and dog and my bedtime is maybe twenty minutes later than theirs.

And I know that’s sort of not good and that I’m limited on who is or may be out there.

I don’t know what my next step might be, but all I can do is try again at a suitable time later in the year

Thank you sleeplessness.

A night last week where I slept really badly and it left me time for thinking.

Maybe not the right time or circumstances to think, but I had some things in mind, for now and after holiday with the kids.

Realised that being myself (widower/carer/autistic) makes the whole dating thing difficult and that past attempts in October and February really weren’t enjoyable. I had thought, oh, I could try in August, but, I’m thinking I leave it maybe longer.

It’s not to say I don’t need company or intimacy but maybe recognising that I’m not in the right place and that a new relationship wouldn’t be a fix-all.

I tend to add up period separated and period since Lyndie died and it’s probably closer to eight years maybe and perhaps, I could frame that differently or whatever but, it’s a long time since a day to day regular relationship.

I questioned if it’s celibacy, involuntary celibacy, but whether it’s definable, I don’t know. I’m certainly not a woman hating incel or someone just seeking sex, so the definitions and descriptors are a bit of a challenge.

I had to think whether there’s anything else and look at things like Aromantic and things like that. I don’t think I am uninterested or fit the definitions. Certainly an interesting read.

I had sort of thought that my next birthday, 50, was the point to sort of chuck it, accept that it’s probably just me and try and hold onto a bit of dignity.

I don’t know. There’s certainly people single and dating using the ‘seniors’ apps and sites and I don’t really know much about that. Maybe keeping an open mind is better than just dismissing it.

I think, the point that I’m trying to get to here, is that I know a relationship might help, might be a welcome distraction, but that I could risk completely leaning on that person and that’s unfair on them.

I need to pick up other threads in terms of my life, in order to balance it all out. If there’s anything to do after the holidays it’s maybe looking at gym/fitness/swimming for my own general health and my dodgy knee in particular.

I haven’t got anywhere in terms of meet up groups or activities or daytime sort of things to do that I could squeeze into a term-time day and I haven’t really been able up use respite time to go out etc.

So, I’ve a lot to think about that I wanted to do after I was less shocked and less griefy but, maybe two years behind on due to the pandemic.

Maybe the answer is to think some more, find things that’ll give me contact with people again and try to rebuild some confidence first, before taking a giant leap at disappointment with the dating apps.

It’s not a easy sell balding/grey, nearly 50, autistic widower with childcare responsibilities for disabled kids and restricted time off weekends/evenings.

So, it’s maybe better looking at fitness, looking at social things that might allow me to build on myself.

All in all, I don’t know. I’ll figure it out a bit more as I go.

So.. what to do now

https://chicgibson.wordpress.com/2022/03/01/so-february-was-bumble/

February was Bumble and I tried Tinder in October. I’ve had a look at OK Cupid and some other options.

I don’t know if I’m any better off for trying dating sites. I guess if I hadn’t, I’d probably be thinking that I should have.

I had thought when I hit 50, I go with ‘Zen Monk’ plan.

Basically aim to chill out, push the loneliness stuff out my mind. Accept the situation, be grateful that I have the boys and dog here and work on my physical and mental health.

My zen monk shit note

I already don’t drink alcohol.

For the rest probably a gym membership. Some reading and some good Scottish water.

In mental health terms, it’s either a case of breaking down defences (some long term and necessary), be willing to reach out and not have necessarily receive in return, and have a willingness to ‘try and fail’ to an extent.

Maybe, I don’t need anyone based on current circumstances, maybe I can manage like this for however long I have left?

I have read about it and know that being myself and being lonely will affect my likely length of life. I have to consider that as I’m a carer and it’s unlikely my oldest son can live alone.

But the barrier to effecting change is time. I’m free daytime on school days, I have time after bedtime, I have respite windows.

But even so, with daytimes, I can read philosophy, I can go to a gym, I can use respite windows for shopping or to rest.

I always feel embarrassed using online dating. The short story is that one of my former colleagues read my tinder profile out in the office. I was stalked by another colleague and obviously it was shared above, but to be mocked like that and especially given that they knew that I was separated and struggling with it all wasn’t nice.

I feel quite vulnerable with those sorts of things and quite scared that I’ll be mocked in another way by someone else.

So, lack of any joy, difficult feelings about doing it add up to a sort of melancholy feeling about trying to change my situation

My own knowledge says to myself that I can’t have a meaningful romantic attachment or relationship without having a base of friends and family in place first and I’ve lost that over the years separated and widowed, so a more sensible approach is writing off the next few years and working on having at least that base in place and having that to work from. At least it would mean the odd text or getting out a bit more.

I can look at my ‘zen monk’ plan as a backstop and where I eventually need to go. I do need to exercise and lose weight. A function of depression is doing less and probably eating more in a ‘be good to yourself’ sort of way.

Perhaps it’s self discipline I rather need more of to control my feelings, to control the elements of dreaming and hoping. To work on exercise and diet and sleep. To not allow negative thoughts to dwell.

It’s a lot to hope that one person would change my life. It’s a lot to push on top of a new relationship and a lot to expect and an element of putting someone on a dais or something, that maybe they wouldn’t expect or need as their life might be more balanced or that they have their own story with vulnerabilities and complications.

I don’t really know what I expected, there wasn’t maybe anything, maybe I was expecting to be disappointed. I had one meaningful chat in those two months and in the end I was ghosted.

I know that being ghosted is a common thing and maybe it’s not all my fault and maybe it’s with that persons situation or whatever, but it hurts anyway.

Failure hurts. The thought that I can’t attract or interest anyone. The feeling that I’m ‘not good enough’ ‘too old’ ‘too broken’ or have ‘too much baggage’

It’s a grim viewpoint. Perhaps I can work on that. Maybe I can’t. Maybe I need to work through all that stuff and find something useful rather than just see the negativity.

For now, I have my day to day and my responsibilities, things to do and sort and get on with. I can’t stop, I can’t give myself a break from all that because I’m sad or sad and lonely.

It’s just plain old time to get on with things and process more of it when I get an opportunity to do so.

Good Enough?

Instagram Post

I follow lots of different things online, try to be positive about what I look at.

Whilst I want to think that I’m ‘good enough’, a lifetimes worth of low self esteem and confidence places me below that, I’ll never believe that I am.

I know that it’s my own thoughts in my own head.

But it’s backed up by experience and at some points in my life absolute humiliation.

My communication lets me down, my ability to read others lets me down, so I’ve misread things or allowed myself to be suckered.

So, bad experiences, a childhood that was okay but punctuated by bullying, didn’t allow me to build that self worth.

I never shone at anything, I never got awards or the little trophies, I wasn’t great at sport, I wasn’t the cleverest or most creative. My struggles with myself meant operating at 120% to look like other peoples 100%.

So, there was little to praise, little to be congratulated about. I know my parents were proud of me, but I couldn’t produce the little awards that others seemed to do.

I won’t be alone in that, there will be others that struggled their way through school for different reasons either from themselves or their home life.

But, it starts early with ‘Am I good enough?’

Doubts, fears, inability to get anywhere with things you want to.

That then leads to a young adult that wanted to please people, wanted to be part of things, wanted to be seen as doing okay.

So, I worked hard, played hard, tried and tried and tried to make a go of things.

My early attempts at relationships and girlfriends weren’t good and my fear of failing, my lack of confidence in myself and how I looked and who I was, didn’t really help.

Not everyone makes you feel that you’re not good enough and not everyone is out to trip you up.

But when you have that low self worth, it’s tricky to find a way out, it’s almost impossible to say, ‘I look okay’ or ‘I’m as good as them’.

The inner gremlins eat away at you, there’s times you don’t try.

Times I’ve stayed at the bar or the table even when there’s a little encouragement.

Times I’ve avoided situations that I may have enjoyed.

Times I’ve punished myself by not going for it, by staying safe.

As I get older, the regrets stack up, the times that I couldn’t or didn’t resonate. The people I could’ve been friends with, the relationships I might have had, the different paths not taken.

Alcohol fuelled any of the chances I took with people in person and dates and relationships came from that person who had less inhibitions.

I could also be an arsehole when drunk though, it was a fine line to be presentable enough and sober enough to pull off talking to a girl.

Obviously past few years, I haven’t been drinking, I haven’t been out much. A lot of that was financial when I lived alone after separation.

Just having enough money to get by and a night out would tip balance and make me struggling, even assuming I could in terms of the kids.

I miss company, chats, the randomness of the pub and people and music. Despite it all, I want to be sociable, I like people.

I’m just not very good at it and never have been.

In childhood, it’s a shyness and often described by my mother as such.

In adulthood, a sort of awkwardness and insecurity. A lack of confidence and reinforced by social situations, groups and my place within that.

None of what I feared happened, the worst never came, I wasn’t beaten or bullied or whatever as an adult.

Punishments were more subtle, being the one not asked to go to something, being left out or whatever.

Failure to see the positives in myself placed me at a disadvantage to others who maybe had less to work with than me, but didn’t have that cloud hanging over them.

I could be astonished watching the confident at work in social situations, just breezing in, getting what they wanted, in what seemed an effortless way.

Now, I know that the people who do that, have the same doubts and issues as me, but hide it and use their tools to present a front that allows them to do that and that confidence and ability once practiced can be used and built upon.

The issue isn’t others. It’s yourself/myself. The Man in the Mirror as it were.

The psychology of how we interact and how we form in groups and how we seek sex and love are huge parts of our lives, huge parts of our mental health and well being.

How to spot someone that’s putting themselves down or without confidence isn’t easy as they’ll hide it. Humour, self deprecation.

Ultimately, for me a thing to wrestle with and a thing I have to pick myself up on. I find compliments very difficult as I don’t see myself worthy of them. I’m grateful but wanting to avoid at the same time.

I have had a few in terms of the boys and how I manage them, but I just see keeping them tidy and having what they need as a basic part of my job as their dad. I have to deliver for them and keep on top of things.

It can be nice to hear, but difficult to process.

In terms of that graphic, I’m not gonna do that. I’ll try and weave my way through life as I do, take myself a step at a time and recognise that I have a late diagnosis of autism and that has materially affected my life through my ability to communicate and handle social or ‘people’ situations.

I mentioned ‘the paths not took earlier’ and yeah in the retrospective of your life that you have after diagnosis of Aspergers, ASN, Autism; you do see the places that you absolutely fluffed it, where your decision making, commitment or belief wavered.

But and I really didn’t think I’d be quoting Frank Sinatra at the start of writing this piece.

‘Regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and.. did it My Way’

Well maybe a load of regrets Frank, but..

How would I advice myself?

I have a note on my phone it was intended for next year and my 50th birthday.

Logic of it, is that I’ll be ‘old’ or properly ‘old’ and it’s time just to think of keeping myself a bit better and thinking longevity particularly for my oldest son.

Not entirely depressive thinking but certainly elements were.

In my mind was just bring it forward for this birthday (my 49th), just start doing those things sooner rather than putting it off.

Of course, trying to think as to how I’d advise others and that would be to not make big resolutions, take life as it comes and change smaller things that are easier to control or do.

Take the smaller wins around the edges and don’t bite into the huge stuff.

Small pebbles to fill the jar, instead of forcing the big ones, that sort of analogy. Taking 50 bites of the huge thing, rather than assuming it has to be one big bite.

My advice to others is probably more sound than my internal monologue or my internal sort of fixed agenda that my autistic mind has.

Black/white thinking. It must be perfect and there must be an achievement or outcome that I can define. That sort of thinking.

Also the anxiety thinking, I’m not good enough, I’m not this, I’m not that, some of which can be debilitating or enough to make me not do things or not attempt to do things.

Depression feeds through to thoughts like I had a life in my 20s and 30s and I did what I could, I had fun, met the mothers of my children etc etc.

Widower thinking gives me, I’m alone, I miss her, I miss what we had when it was good, I miss having that second opinion, I miss her with the kids, I miss her every day.

But some truths are self evident.

I have been alone about seven years after breakup of marriage and separation and that’s about 5 years.

And the last 2/3 years with dealing with Lyndie’s death and taking on day to day responsibility for boys.

By alone, I suppose that I haven’t really had any girlfriends/relationships in that time. There have been chances or things but nothing steady, local and long term.

I may want more out of life but I’m responsible for two children as their only parent and in coronavirus times, that means not taking risks and ensuring that I don’t get it virus or have adverse affects from getting it.

Whether that means I shouldn’t attempt to date or shouldn’t think the positives of trying is another thing and that’s the hard decision within my package of thoughts about turning 50.

But in that seven years, I was financially restricted when I was separated for those five years and nights out/ going to do things were a struggle to afford. I dabbled for a while with online dating without much success and I guess I clung to the relationship with Lyndie as day to day contact no matter how bad or horrible or difficult that it was.

The last two or three years have been shock/grief/worry/anxiety as well as the day to day with the boys

I have had some respite time at weekends and generally one weekend off per month and the couple of hours on a Friday or Sundays helped. Getting away sometimes on those once a month weekends helped. ( although covid stopped me)

Do I even have the time for any relationship? Can I do it? Are the doubts that are in my head and I wonder if there’s more dignity in stepping back from all of it and thinking through things to reduce loneliness and balance my life better as a parent/carer and autistic person.

I don’t know any of the answers but can set out the problem of feeling desperately alone and isolated.

Perhaps that’s where I need to start and work through what the problem is to find solutions rather than impose more rules on myself.

More figuring things out.

When I started writing, I didn’t have a direction to take my blog. I wouldn’t say my focus is entirely autism/autistic or on mental health.

I simply needed something that let me put words out of my head. Not intended as a way to indirectly speak or to backchat at people.

I probably write much less than I should, I have days where the thoughts are there but the willingness is not.

I’m trying to figure out what to do. I’m past two years since Lyndie died and I know my life is now as a sole parent. I almost wrote ‘lone parent’ but that’s different.

My responsibilities start with my sons that I live with and that’s where I’m trying to focus and trying to prioritise.

My own situation and being had to be second to that, but at same time, I need to be in a decent place mentally and emotionally to cope with the daily ups and downs.

That brings me to what’s in the background of my mind. Can I or should I look for friends or company?

I did the ‘don’t text or message first’ thing. Excepting my daughter and my parents in law. It went pretty much as I thought and made me think about whether I should be reaching out, even if it is just to update how we’re all doing.

I also need to think about Facebook as I’m really not enjoying it at the moment. My need for it to update friends of Lyndie is sort of gone and my need to use it for the widowed groups is gone. I’m not thinking a dramatic post or anything. More like sticking the app elsewhere on my phone and leaving it for occasionally hitting the like button.

I’ve thought whether dating sites a good idea, my conclusion is that they wouldn’t be helpful. I also am pretty much with kids everyday with a monthly respite break and I can’t see a way to shake more ‘me time’ into that.

That then brings me to ‘what to do?’

I’m not aiming to be a hermit, not aiming to be myself the rest of my existence, but, I don’t have a desire to go and do things alone, I don’t really want to see the film I want to see at the cinema in the daytime by myself.

So, I have to work out a healthy way to be on my own and not feel lonely whilst trying to figure out if I can repair my life. If I can either pick up or make new friends and if I can repair some family relationships.

That’s not quite as easy as installing tinder or match or whatever and scrolling pictures.

Communication is the autistic persons nightmare and particularly facing people and talking and getting them to understand.

Knowing the limits of who’s already out there helps and it’s unfair to say to those by a Facebook post or whatever that I’ve tried the ‘not texting/messaging you’ thing to see if you’d check on me.

So, there’s that need to quietly ‘move on’, the need to get beyond the widower stage and the need to see where I can take things forward.

That’s aiming positively, that’s being realistic and having a calm measured think about using time to redecorate or rearrange the house to what I want and need.

To use hours to plan next holidays or breaks with boys. To ensure that birthdays and Christmas are thought through and that they get quality life experiences and things to do.

I can fantasise to an extent about having someone nearby as a female friend or whatever but, I have to be here and I have to be here for my sons. I can’t bring someone here to live with me, I can’t be reckless enough to have that sort of relationship.

I can recognise the listlessness of being or feeling lonely and know that I’ve coped before.

I was on my own living in flat, working and seeing kids midweek and weekends from 2014 to 2019. I’d been out with one person after separation and most of my energy was needed to handle day to day at work and do my share with boys at the weekends.

So, if I’ve did it before, I can again.

But this time is different and I don’t have a few evenings free. I need to figure out how to do that through a through the week carer and even if it’s only one night a week off, then that’s better than what I’m doing now.

I have to look at interests and figure if I can read again, if there’s a way to have a hobby or thing to do to fill time. If I can look at a way to even occupy one of the daytimes during the school term weeks.

It’s a lot to think through and I possibly need a thought cloud to draw out what’s needed and what makes some sense to me.

Anyway getting something out my head helps.

Flat

I’m in my flat. 12 weeks ago this was my home.

I’m packing up. My life changed on Sunday September 1st.

My estranged wife died and I’ve lived at her house with the kids since.

Lyndie was 39. We were separated and had lived apart for nearly five years. As parents of autistic children we had to keep talking and we did.

I usually went over midweek on a Wednesday to see the boys and do their bedtimes. I also usually had them from lunchtime Saturdays until Sunday evening.

Her house was a place that I was familiar with. She had a number of conditions and at times she was bed bound. It wasn’t unusual for her to be so and either myself or the carer for boys would look after them.

It’s been a journey since that day.

Since I phoned 999, having to then tell her parents and all the phone calls and emails thereafter

The registration of her death, her funeral. Unpicking her arrangements, using her phone calendar as a guide.

I didn’t know everything about her.

That much was certain before she died and afterwards, the contacts and messages, some of which I struggled to read. Fixing her Facebook accounts, Unsubscribing her from email lists, Stopping auto scheduled amazon deliveries.

Then her notes, The things she wanted to say to me.

I can’t change anything. It is what it is. A certain amount of surprises in terms of her personal and financial situation.

I had to think of the kids first and foremost and what they needed, that meant getting benefits made out to me, Sorting Motability, pleading to the housing association to allow me the tenancy.

It’s not all done. I now need to clear my flat and sell it.

I need to apply for what was Carer’s Allowance.

I need to speak with my employer and find out about going back to work.

There’s the loss and grief of someone I loved. Regret at her moving out and guilt that she died.

I don’t know what happened. Her death is unascertained and there are further tests.

I cry sometimes and don’t know why. I stop what I’m doing and forget what I’ve been doing.

There are memories and words unspoken. There are arguments remembered and things that went wrong.

I’ve been told not to blame myself.

I’ve been told that I’ve coped well in keeps the boys in their school routine. I’ve been helped by the carer and her family.

But, it’s still like yesterday.

It’s fresh in my mind. Finding her, not feeling a breath. The touch of her hand.

It’s not easy, i still don’t know the whys. I know she struggled with her health in the past few years. We cancelled a week of our holiday in August.

We still holidayed together for the boys sake.

In these twelve weeks, I’ve had kind words and help and support.

I’ve had to deal with rumours of her taking her life and comments about my parenting ability.

I’ve had to read things I’ve not wanted to. I’ve had to make calls that I haven’t wanted to.

It’s endless and exhausting.

My focus has been my sons. They lost their mummy. Their light of their lives. Their encouragement, her smile, her hugs.

I’m no replacement for that.

I wasn’t an absentee father. I did anything asked of me for them. I know their needs and routines.

I’m still not their mummy though.

So it’s a flat to clear and it’s obvious that I lived enough to get by day to day in those four and a bit years. I hadn’t moved on and I was stuck after the separation.

The rooms and objects of my former home are now different to me. Not as familiar. Not as easy and safe.

My new home is ‘her house’ and will be for a while yet. The drama made by the housing association over me taking the tenancy meant that my grief was delayed whilst I worried over my boys being evicted and the upset that would cause to them.

It left me in limbo for six weeks. I couldn’t change anything at the house and I couldn’t start to pack the flat either.

My plans were knocked over in both senses.

My grief came back after I was allowed the house, I stopped worrying and started processing what had happened again.

My ‘alone’ had changed from evenings after work to daytime when boys are at school and then later at night when they’re in bed.

I don’t know where this new ‘normal’ takes me. For the moment I do feel flat.

Downgrade.

I think I’ve had modest hopes in the last four years. That somehow things would get better, that somehow I could pick myself up again. That maybe I wouldn’t feel the same.

I think recently I’ve felt that hope die. Perhaps it’s an acceptance or an adjustment in my thinking.

I’ve arranged a savings pot that hopefully will take care of my funeral. I’ve steadily attempted to be disciplined and pay things down too.

I’ve worked at little ways not to spend as much.

Ultimately, I still struggle financially every month. I’m pretty much on my own when not at work or with the kids.

I don’t particularly have the tools or ability to change my situation.

So in the face of that it’s accepting what I cannot change.

I can’t change my situation and all I can do is accept.

I accept I’ve got my time restrictions, I accept I’ve got my financial restrictions, I accept my front head baldness and back head greyness.

I accept my build and weight. I accept I’m autistic.

I’ve been looking for online advice for accepting that you’re alone and that you won’t be in another relationship. That things are what they are and that it’s just about continuing and going on.

That it is what it is.

No one is realistic going to reach in and drag me out and I’m never gonna reach out in the way others might expect.

It’s my own life, mine to do as I wish.

Bad things happened and I can’t do much about that.

Hurt, loss and pain have happened.

I kept on. I tried. I was there for my kids. I held myself as best I could.

I need just a reassurance that it’s okay to say, yup I’m done with that.

To downgrade and be okay with the rest of my life alone. To not have any daft or stupid hopes. To just know it’s okay not to bother with chasing dreams, leave alone swiping profiles, give up looking at pictures.

The advice out there is that it’s okay and good things happen when you stop looking so hard for them. That you should never give up on dating.

Maybe that’s correct for others, maybe it’s right for people that can do people and have a support network of friends and family.

I’m myself, looking and wandering and just wanting that realistic advice.

‘Yeah you’re wrong side of 40, yeah you’re bald, yeah you’re grey, yeah you’re overweight and you’ve lost what you thought you had.

‘Here’s how to keep it between the lines until you die. Here’s the things to keep you going day after day.’

‘Here’s the tools to be alone and not be bitter and twisted. Here’s the wisdom in leaving women and relationships to others.’

‘Here’s the way to be cool with all that, to know that you tried and tried again.’

Here’s the best way to handle that not working. Here’s how to accept all that stuff without losing your good parts.’

‘Here’s how to avoid being that sympathy project for others.’

‘Here’s how to continue with life on your own terms. Here’d how to maintain your dignity and grace.’

Sadly, none of that advice is really out there. The realism, the objective view on just keeping the head up and keeping going, even if it all went wrong.

Meh.

I don’t know.

‘A man is no-one, a man has no name.’ I’m misquoting Faceless Man Jacquen H’gar from Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire probably.

I think right now, I am feeling that other-less. I stopped looking at the apps that I said I would. I’m still me, but how and why and about what I’m not sure.

What I want and how I get there is up for question and beyond work and parenting, I’m not sure.

Not knowing or ‘I don’t know’ is okay.

I knew I really wasn’t getting anywhere or doing anything useful before, but equally I wasn’t doing any harm. Possibly only to myself.

So, right now, maybe the state of balance isn’t really anything. Maybe it’s a case of getting on with it and accepting that it is what it is.

I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t known how I felt or what I wished to articulate. I didn’t know and maybe for a while I still won’t.

A constant state of uncertainty maybe has a scientific term or whatever but the balance for me psychologically is just being and keeping going.

And yes, I can’t wait to see the next season of GoT in April.

Delivery and Cancellation

I saw a ‘deal’ to upgrade my BT broadband and thought it a good idea. An upgrade to my existing service for not much more.

Then Royal Mail got involved..

A text with a link. We’ll deliver 0921 to 1321.

Fair enough my door entry will work at those times and package fits through my door.

Then a text as I’m going home last night

It wasn’t delivered. So I try texting back. Text back returned undelivered.

I try emailing BT on the email they confirmed my order on. This email doesn’t get read/can’t answer.

I try the websites chat function but it’s pretty clear person at other end, doesn’t understand me.

I try phoning and have to describe everything and give my address. At that point it’s too much and I know I’ll start swearing or shouting, so I try and tell the call handler and hang up.

The parcel was dispatched Thursday. It had a trip to Glasgow and back from Inverclyde before making my delivery office.

So I get a twitter direct message and they’re nice but I end up saying sorry I can’t cope and cancel my order.

It’s my fault and my condition. I’m sure these things happen to others, but I was lied to about delivery yesterday and I don’t want the thing now.

I was wound up over two hours to point of a meltdown by texts and emails that are no reply and a chat function.

When I finally spoke to a person I got nowhere as I was beyond functioning.

But I have an invisible disability. It’s not as ‘real’ as having something missing or cancer and I can’t get help..

So no faster broadband for me and my kids. I’ll need to learn that deals aren’t for me.

Postscript.

As I anticipated, Royal Mail didn’t attempt to deliver today and at 2pm, made it my problem. I had to collect item. I’ve been at work all day.

I’ve cancelled the upgrade and let BT know I won’t collect item as I don’t want a mile walk to and a mile walk from the collection office.

If the package hadn’t been a signed for item, it’d have got to me 😦

A meltdown and four hours of wasted communication later..

In summary, I should know better by now.

Further postscript. I receive texts from BT engineers saying my line upgraded and my existing router doesn’t work…

I get home and no WiFi or broadband. I’m crying as I write this.