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Author Topic: The Black Dog Thread  (Read 94223 times)

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #885 on: 12 November, 2022, 01:52:09 PM »
Glad to hear it. 80p extra an hour doesn't sound too shabby to me - it should add up to a tidy little bit of pocket money at the end of the week.  (Sadly, I've never been able to get past my university-born habit of calculating unexpected cash sums in terms of numbers of pints, but there's definitely a reasonable trip to the boozer there if that's your thing.)

Personally I've been struggling a lot with stress and anxiety since an obnoxious, arrogant student joined my English class a couple of weeks ago. After days of mental exhaustion trying to work out how to contain his bad attitude and simultaneously deliver a good class to the students who actually give a fuck, I finally outlined my difficulties to my boss in writing.

On hearing of his behaviour, she sent me a voice message calling him a 'shit', a 'bastard' and a 'sociopath', all of which I can now admit to myself are accurate, and expelled him there and then.

He'll have a lot of wrangling and stress himself now dealing with trying to find a new school to satisfy immigration, which I wouldn't wish on him at all, but I have to admit I'm hugely relieved.  I've had a literal headache for 4 days straight that painkillers wouldn't shift but it's finally easing.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

paddykafka

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #886 on: 16 November, 2022, 09:40:35 AM »
Glad to hear that you got that problem sorted, JBC. He sounded like a right prick and you're well rid of him. Also good that you have a supportive boss who was willing to act swiftly on your behalf. (If only all bosses were like that!)

RE: Hawkmumbler - Sorry to hear about your troubles and it's good to know that you've found a remedy of sorts. Hope that things will improve for you.

RE: Rara Avis - Belated thanks for your support and advice on Threshold. I do plan on touching base with them at some point in the near future. Recent and more unfortunate health events - about which I will post at some other stage - have held me up from contacting them. But when I'm back to something approaching normality, I do plan on reaching out for their support.

RE: Jade Falcon - Delighted for you on your pay rise. Just think of all the more Tooth products that you'll be able to spend your hard-earned Galactic Groats upon!  :)

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #887 on: 16 November, 2022, 08:18:40 PM »
Glad to hear that you got that problem sorted, JBC. He sounded like a right prick and you're well rid of him. Also good that you have a supportive boss who was willing to act swiftly on your behalf. (If only all bosses were like that!)


Thanks, Paddy. You're one of the good guys too. Yeah, I'm really lucky to have such a great boss - she's a tiny elderly woman but hard as nails and fiercely protective of her staff, as we are of her.

I'm only part-time, the rest of my time is spent flailing about desperately trying to run my business, but it's amazing how one bad apple can take over your whole waking life - though I suppose nobody knows that better than you :(
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Jade Falcon

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #888 on: 18 November, 2022, 08:16:14 PM »
Not a good day on the job at all.  We're expected on average to service a call every few minutes, with some exceptions.  I got a couple of argumentative sods, one was online for 53 minutes.  I find it mentally draining, especially sittingin front of a twin monitor setup for seven and a half hours.

I really don't think I'm cut out for this job, there's so much to try and remember, so much to take in and the potential for a major mistake is just too much.

Now my shifts next week involve starting at 7 in the morning.  I like to allow myself an hour for driving up to take into account traffic, bad weather conditions and other factors like road works or being stuck behind a tractor or slow truck.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #889 on: 19 November, 2022, 12:05:20 AM »
It's fecking hard, alright, the whole call centre thing.  I used to be absolutely exhausted at the end of a day on the phones.  Hope you can stick it out, though, and keep the momentum going now you're making some money.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Rara Avis

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #890 on: 20 November, 2022, 11:42:42 AM »
I really don't think I'm cut out for this job, there's so much to try and remember, so much to take in and the potential for a major mistake is just too much.

Jade go easy on yourself, you're not expected to remember it all after only 3 months. Also, making mistakes is part of the learning process. They are going to happen and it's not going to be the end of the world.

@ Paddy, any news on the homefront?

paddykafka

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #891 on: 20 November, 2022, 03:38:11 PM »

@ Paddy, any news on the homefront?

Hi Rara Avis,
Well, as far as the home front goes, one of the  chaps - in one of the flats upstairs - has already  left the house and found accommodation through a former landlady of his. He had no sooner gone, than the new landlord (NL) aka Scumbag, had the builders in, ripping up the floorboards and basically gutting the place.

This caused much annoyance to the unfortunate English chap who resides in the flat directly below. He works night shifts, and then sleeps from early morning ‘till late afternoon. So you can just imagine how pissed off he was. (Not, of course, that the NL would give a shit!)  In addition to this, the water in the flat above him was twice disconnected – which effectively meant that his water supply was also cut off. And to add insult to injury, when it was restored, there was a leak which came through his ceiling. Did the NL apologise for all this inconvenience? Did he heck as like!

Between the works being carried out in the basement flat and the one upstairs, the house is now effectively a building site. It is worth noting that the patently dubious reason which NL gave for evicting us all from here was Health & Safety legislation. In that, it would not be safe for refurbishment and renovations to be carried out in the house, while we tenants were still residing here. It does not appear to be something with which he is overly concerned about at the present time.

Due to health complications – which may or may not be related to my current ongoing illness – I had to once again, go back into hospital, this time for surgery. I had fired my former GP - whom I nicknamed “Doctor No”, on account of his unpleasant, negative attitude - and switched to a lovely lady doctor in the same practice.  I swear, that woman showed me more empathy and kindness in the fifteen minutes I was with her, than “Doctor No” had displayed in the years I knew him!

It was on her advice – and with a referral letter from her - that I went back to the hospital. This meant once again spending more hours in A&E then many hours afterwards on a trolley in a corridor -with all the stress this entails - before being given a bed in a ward. I was put on the emergency list for surgery and had to wait for two days – during which time I was leaking pus and in some amount of pain and discomfort - before I was operated upon.

(Not having my laptop with me this time around, I was bored witless for want of distraction!)

A couple of days after discharge, I got to see a Public Health Nurse (PHN) for a change of dressing upon the wound. (Interestingly enough, when I related my bad experiences with “Doctor No” to the PHN, she said that she had previously received bad reports from other patients about him).
 
So as things currently stand, I am still in recovery mode, and not in much shape at the present time, to be dealing with my accommodation dilemma. With any luck – current illness notwithstanding -  I’ll be recovered enough within the next week or so, to be in a position where I can begin to address it.

But I figure that the best and wisest course, is to get my physical health back to some sort of normality first. (I’m still waiting on confirmation from the private hospital for an appointment to carry out the medical procedure / test that will, hopefully, identify what the hell is ultimately wrong with me).

Thanks again to yourself, Rara, and all ye other Squaxx for your ongoing support and kindness. I'll keep ye all updated in the near future.

Cheers! - Paddy Kafka

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #892 on: 22 November, 2022, 07:24:22 PM »

Hi all.

I wanted to bang on about aphantasia (and thank you to M.I.K. for putting a word to it, which springboarded my research) for a bit because it's really knocked me for six and is threatening - but only threatening - to let slip the dogs of black, and so this seemed the correct venue. I hope you'll forgive me in advance, I have the feeling this might go on for a bit.

For all my life, the first fifty five years of it at any rate, I was firmly of the belief that when people said things like "picture, in your mind's eye, a horse," they were being rhetorical. It was just a saying. People couldn't really see images of horses with their eyes shut. They were just describing the awareness of the idea of a horse. To actually see a horse that isn't there is impossible. Nobody can do that.

Then I found out that most people actually can do that, to varying degrees. At the far end of the bell curve is hyperphantasia, where people's mental images are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, so much so that some people have actual trouble distinguishing the real from the imagined. Hyperphantasia effects a surprising 10-15% of the population of the planet. Most people fall behind to varying degrees, their mental imagery ranging from sharp and bright to fuzzy and dark and all points in between until you get to my lot. I've seen estimates that between 1-3% to 1-5% of the population has aphantasia - the total inability to form a mental image. That's me, that is. When I close my eyes, it's just dark with a faint background hiss of muted, multicoloured static. Sometimes there's an image in that, but it's random and entirely the same thing as seeing a face in a tree or a fish in a cloud - I didn't, and indeed couldn't, conjour that "image" up in the static of my mind any more than I could conjour it up in a tree or in a cloud.

Then I found out that just about everyone else on Earth has a superpower. Except me.

It was... well, I'm not sure what it was. Disappointing doesn't cover it but devastated is too much.

I can't imagine how forming actual images in my head might have changed my life. If I could see the face of a loved one at a traumatic, or joyous time - instead of darkness. If I could have seen the beauty of mathematics and physics and art in my mind's eye, instead of darkness, would I have learned more? If I could see Rufus Muldoon in my head, would the stories I write about him on the Squaxx Telling Stories thread be better?

There also seems to be an effect on my memory, as well. It is episodic and objective, and in no particular order. While doing resarch for Jikan, I read something about Samurai beliefs in which memories were described as being like autumn leaves strewn on the forest floor, which is what my memories are like. They're all perfectly retreivable but they're not in order, and I never re-live them. Never see what I saw, hear what I heard, feel what I felt. I know what I saw, heard and felt but can't recreate them. My memories are like photographs. I know what's on every one of those photographs to the finest detail but they're locked in a drawer and I don't have the key, so I'll never see them again.

It's the same with everything. If I'm writing a science fiction story, I can create a spaceport in my mind. I know the planet it's on, the colour of sky it's under, the surrounding terrain, the materials of its construction, the types of ships coming and going, and everything. But I can't see it. I can't visualise it. I just had a quick re-read of my short story Gods are Patient but Monsters Endure (on the above mentioned thread), because it's one of my favourites and never fails to move me at the end. It still moved me, still made me smile, I still enjoyed the emulation of Lord Dunsany - but in a world of envisioners, is it just rubbish? For all of my life I've enjoyed writing, but am I just throwing blurry photographs at cinemagoers? It's all very confusing.

Okay. I'm sorry. This was all a bit self-indulgent and probably not very clear - but please, just try to picture, if you can, a complete abscence of pictures in your mind. Forever.

It has to be said that there are a few advantages to aphantasia. We are less likely to hallucinate. We tend to get through p.t.s.d. better because there aren't traumatic images playing back in our heads all the time (although traumatic ideas can go around and around, I guess darkness is less distracting to the healing process). We tend to get over emotional traumas more quickly for similar reasons. That's about it, though, as far as I can tell.

I have to admit that learning I have aphantasia has been a bit of a blow. As if my political views, grinding poverty, and advancing age weren't enough, now this.

I have never felt more of an outsider than I do right now.
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M.I.K.

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #893 on: 22 November, 2022, 08:09:47 PM »
Wikipedia has a short list of notable people with aphantasia...

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar & former president of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
James Harkin, British podcaster and television writer.
Richard Herring, British comedian and podcaster.
Glen Keane, animator, author, and illustrator.
Lynne Kelly, writer on mnemonics and memory techniques.
Mark Lawrence, fantasy author.
Yoon Ha Lee, science fiction author.
Laura Lexx, comedian.
Derek Parfit, British philosopher.
Blake Ross, co-creator of the web browser Mozilla Firefox.
Michelle Sagara, fantasy author.

Dunno about you, but I see a bit of a pattern there, (not literally, that actually is a figure of speech - although now I've said that I'm picturing a sort of vague tartan, but I don't think that relates to anything except perhaps my inherent Scottishness).

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #894 on: 22 November, 2022, 08:21:30 PM »

Thanks, M.I.K., though I've only heard of a couple of those it is a heartening list.

This... thing has dropped on me like a ball of wet fish. At 55, now 56, my entire worldview has shifted. Again. Everything I know has to be re-evaluated and I'm feeling pretty unsure of myself at the moment.

I'm working to push through it, come to terms with it. Nothing, after all, has changed quantitatively. but that qualitative shift is a bitch.

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Hawkmumbler

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #895 on: 24 November, 2022, 02:11:14 PM »
Not a good day on the job at all.  We're expected on average to service a call every few minutes, with some exceptions.  I got a couple of argumentative sods, one was online for 53 minutes.  I find it mentally draining, especially sittingin front of a twin monitor setup for seven and a half hours.

I'm in much the same spot right now, jade. Which is a shame as I do like this job very much, I just don't think i'm cut out for it. After 6 months including a 3 month extension to my probation, i'm still not hitting the targets the crew are expecting of me (lots of small mistakes accumulating together, rather than not hitting call quotas. And bare in mind i've never had any call centre experience before this.).

Really concerned I wont pass my probation, which will hurt a lot as it'll effectively torpedo my moving out plans (potentially standing to lose a lot of money, paid the deposit but they wont care if I can't keep up monthly payments) as well as my holiday in Feb, the first holiday i'll have taken in nearly 8 years.

Feeling very dejected and tired right about now.

paddykafka

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #896 on: 24 November, 2022, 05:25:52 PM »
Feeling very dejected and tired right about now.

Having previously worked in a call centre for my sins - and they must have been many! - oodles of years ago, I can understand, Hawkmumbler, only too well what you mean. Fingers crossed, that Fortuna will favour you for the better soon.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #897 on: 24 November, 2022, 08:02:25 PM »
I remember a few weeks into my old call centre job I got up, got the bus to work from the other side of town, arrived at the door of the office, realised I didn't have the heart to go in, turned round and went home. I got it together a bit the next day and made it into the office, and realised no one had even noticed.  I was trying to sell a very shitty insurance product that I didn't really understand, and I think I only sold one - in hindsight I wish I hadn't. 

It was an exploitative, insidious business and I would have been insulted myself had it been offered to me.   Any time I've been offered an unsolicited sale since, I've quoted a gruff-sounding Scot I'd read my phone pitch to once: 'You're wasting your time. '

Which of course is not to say that there's anything wrong with call centres - I just worked in a particularly shitty one for a particularly shitty business.  Hope you lads have better days ahead at your ones.

Sharky, sorry to hear about this odd bit of news you've had.   It's something that I hadn't heard of before and don't quite understand - for me it just doesn't seem to tally with your very imaginative fiction, your evocative drawing and, indeed, the incredibly vivid dreams you describe to us.

I believe you totally, though, of course - it's your brain, not mine.  Hope you can come to terms with the whole thing and find a bit of peace.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Jade Falcon

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #898 on: 24 November, 2022, 08:46:05 PM »
Well apparently my probation period isnt over.  I'm not great at sleeping and despite getting a better sleep pattern usually about half way through the day I start to feel my eyes are very heavy and almost cross eyed at times.

Add to that the fact I was on JSA and PIP before, and now I'm on full time work which is great, but I got a summary of what the council tax is.  If I'm reading one of these forms right the SOB's are wanting about £450 for three or four months.  My rent of course will shoot up and I'm starting to wonder if its really worth it.  Its not that I don't want to work, but I'm wondering if its really worth it.  I'm doing a round trip of about 20 miles a day, and I wonder with deductions if I really am going to be any better off.  Not to mention I stagger in every night feeling drained.  I know my problems are miniscule, but I really need to see someone to figure out if this is even worth doing.

The biggest bloody insult with the council tax is I put my green wheelie bin out today, desperately needing lifted and the sods haven't even been round yet.  What use is paying council tax if you don't get any bloody services worth a bugger.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #899 on: 26 November, 2022, 08:37:25 PM »

Thanks, JBC, that's kind of you to say.

I would like to talk about it some more but this is not the venue.

I spilled it all out on this thread because I was scared the whole thing might overwhelm me and send me into another of those God-awful shadow spirals. But I don't think that's going to happen, thanks in no small part to this thread. It was like having a rock to cling on to during what seems to have been a swell, not a storm. So the thread did it's job.

Thanks to you all.

x

~~~^~~~~~~~


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