Blog Posts

Quality of Life Issues

In much of these articles on this site, I have endeavoured to describe aspects of coping strategies. QOL is acknowledged to be partly a subjective thing and partly composed of an evaluation of our human needs and partly to be seen in terms of sociometric evaluations.

I have also, in my book, considered a dysfunctional family situation where spurious considerations came into play as to who was fully deserving and who was not; and where some unusual patterns of interaction came into play. It has been part of my role, I think, to introduce a sense of balance and proportion in reviewing family behaviour and patterns thereof that seemed to be rather on the exaggerated scale of things. I may have earlier had other ambitions; but, evidently, they would have been flawed if I had tried to consider that those family interactions were satisfactory in their nature and characterisations.

It is never helpful to play so much at being an ostrich with its head in the sand that it becomes an institutionalised way of coping. Equally, of course, being at such strong variance with many of one’s family members does create high levels of stress.

One interesting sub-issue is what one might call the “weird spectrum”. And there have been all the endeavours to paint both myself and my father as being within such a characterisation. Broadly, I do consider this to be a manifestation of my mother having defended herself in relationship to problematic views by others with regard to her lesbianism. So, from my point of view, the analysis of that aspect turns out to be simple enough.

The total scale of warfare has been horrendous, as I perceive it. And as always it is not unusual for both parties to describe themselves as acting in self-defence. And clearly I do feel some of the corrosiveness rubs off on me, and how could I not feel some sense of ownership of my mother’s attitudes? There is, I feel, a negative impact on my QOL that derives from this.

The fun side of my life still exists. And it has not been impossible for me to assimilate all of the various learning curves in my now seeing things as they are. If I have such a quality as robustness then that is always going to leave me feeling a bit self-conscious in that regard. And indeed I do have to frequently take special consideration of all the weird experiences I have had.

Largely, then, I do manage to feel happy.

That relationship with my mother

She was not at all loyal or supportive of me. It was also “obvious” to her that I could not be close to anyone in this world, at all; and this was tied in, I guess, with her constant disparagement of me.

These days I see this manifestation as a survival mechanism that she deployed for coping with her ontological issues surrounding her being a lesbian and the complications and untidiness involved with her sense of personal identity.

It is also a matter which seems to lead around somewhat in circles. The heterosexual paradigm is so comforting because it leads to procreation and the continuance of the species, and seemingly to everything which is happy and joyful. But this other paradigm does not have quite the same chemistry or reproducibility to it.

In my own case, then, I have needed to take long cool looks at things ontological. My mother, I am sure felt that she was not fully rounded or complete. I rather doubt, too, that any of us find that sense of ourselves is all that easy to attain.

Battling against depression…

If I asked myself what are the topic areas that centre around bouts of depression that I have experienced, I would be somewhat spoilt for choice. But I would say that facing down practical outcomes to medical issues comes fairly high on the list. Difficulties with family relationships figure in that list, also; and these were the more prominent issues in earlier decades.

Getting to what might be called a fair and reasonable balance on particular issues that one can face is what I would say is the real problem. Exaggerations or tendencies to deviate therefrom are most definitely to be avoided or, alternatively, patiently worked on. OK, one might be in something of a rut and things may look to be dark, dismal or even postapocalyptic in character; but one must do the due diligence and investigate options for the future, nonetheless.

Writers can experience something of this ilk which tends to get called writer’s block. Winston Churchill had what he called his black dog. But I mustn’t tend to over romanticise this issue. And, indeed, in my case it can be as kitchen-sink in character as the time when my mother beat me in the face with a shoe; and that has been a considerable focus for me in how to evaluate my relationships with my family members.

Indeed my mother and my siblings have been able to extensively disparage me and in some most undignified ways, too.

Another thing to be noted is that in a life experience such as bereavement which bears all the signs of depression, we tend to say of it that it is not a medical condition. I would guess, too, that my overall experiences probably are of that same sort of character.

Nevertheless, grappling with issues and not evading them is a challenge. And I am relatively fortunate in my having the outlet of being able to write about some of them. I suspect this is a bit like the war against disease, for which there is a moral purpose. Losing one’s focus or grip is, after all, an everpresent sort of risk. But it is still possible to do battle.

 

Microsoft OneNote is a very useful package

I have a tendency toward getting anxiety states and even having panic attacks if I am not well organised. And this article should give me a chance to describe how this Microsoft software offering helps me. Compared with other personal-organisation toolkits, this is very serious stuff; and requires an investment of time in learning how to use it anything like to the full. I am not a fan of the Windows operating system but, unfortunately, there is nothing of the same quality that is available as an alternative. Versions which are not as complete are however available for use with other operating systems.

It can be reorganised very fast indeed and that is a feature of just how it has been designed and developed. Mainly, there is a lot of availability of drag and drop methodology. A smallish criticism is that Grammarly cannot work inside of it (as of yet)*; MS does provide reasonable-quality proofing tools, though. Even so, for drafting more serious articles, I prefer to use a private WordPress site deployed with an interesting collection of plugins. That, however, is another possible story in the making.

The ability to reorganise content on the fly is what makes it such a good system for making checklists and reminders over the various review cycles that I am accustomed to… I can alter, replicate, and retweak it just so easily. It works on the Cloud and I therefore have access to it all on my mobile phone. This modern style of living involves using password managers and logging in by way of a response on one’s phone, of course. But, like much else that is available these days, there it all is at my fingertips whenever I want to check out my plans.

There are also the medium scale and larger projects and the ability to link in research materials. Some projects one does not want to start if one does not have a reasonable chance of making progress. But, equally, one can do some research and preparation and evaluate whether or not to take such a possible plunge. Moreover, with good enough quality note making one can more easily defer a planned action and come back to it later. It is easy enough to turn MS OneNote into a sort of extended personal information system; but, of course, one does this in parallel with using other systems which also provide some of these facilities: phone contacts and password managers, for example. Ideally, what one tries to do (time permitting) is to comprehensively upgrade all of one’s key organisation-enhancing facilities.

As for panic attacks, are these a thing of the past for me? Technology has come a long way and one should use it. And, yes, I do feel somewhat safer for being this much tech-savvy. Some of those uses I make of OneNote very much assist in changing my course of action if other things crop up; that sort of preparation has to help to forestall anxiety states!


(*) I have checked out the situation with onedrive.live.com (which provides the browser-based access for OneNote). At the moment, Grammarly is not supported there, either.