Monthly Archives: December 2023


I decided when I got up this morning that I was going to stay off devices all day, and until I turned on my laptop just now (10:50pm) I had, but I felt the need to get some stuff out. What I want to get out I’m not sure I just have that feeling, and the twice in the last week that I’ve written a post in the evening I felt calmer with a less jumbled brain before I went to bed.

In some ways I find it easier to get stuff out here than I do in my journal. There are a lot of thoughts I would write in my journal that I wouldn’t write here, but having spent a lot of my life on a computer I can type faster than I can write. I still prefer using a computer for a lot of things than a smartphone. Does that make me some sort of old person or luddite? Maybe but who cares. I am 42 so to a lot of people I probably AM old. I’ve always thought it’s better to try to embrace your age and get older gracefully. People who try to stay cool and try to fit in with people younger than them often embarrass themselves and draw even more attention to their age. I hope I never do that. I gave up trying to be cool when I was about 25 anyway. As an acquaintance said to me this week “You do you”.

I started psychotherapy recently. I’ve never really been sure what the difference is between counselling and psychotherapy and even professional bodies like the BACP don’t seem to be able to clearly define it. What I can say is that compared to the counselling I was having recently, firstly it’s a lot more expensive, and secondly it’s a lot more exploratory of deeper issues, which is what I felt like I needed. So I guess it’s a case of “you get what you pay for”. I’ve been suffering with depression and anxiety since my breakdown nearly 12 years ago and I’d really like to get better. I have a lot of hope

#that my new psychotherapist will help me get there. I’ve also thought for a long time that what I really needed when I had my breakdown and possibly what I still need is to go to some sort of retreat for a while where my basic needs are taken care of and my brain can have a proper rest for a while. I’ve been trying to give myself bits of that through meditation and solo weekends away, and I’ve been trying as much as possible to give my brain a rest during the current festive break. It’s the only time of year that demand for van services slows down enough that I feel like I can afford to say we’re shut, and mostly not think about it for a week. I got up around 1pm two days in a row this week and it didn’t matter. I didn’t go out of the house but the weather was awful anyway.

This has really become quite a stream of consciousness ramble, but I guess it’s what I need to do and you get to experience it, lucky you!

I’ve been sat here for nearly an hour and am quite tired so I think I’ll stop.

Time for the dumbphone

Back in October I spent two nights away in Tewkesbury without my phone. I knew I had a problem, but the very unpleasant withdrawal I experienced over those two nights made me realise how much I’d lapsed. I’d tried various blocking apps on my smartphone but whatever I tried there was always a way round it. So I decided it was time to go back to the Sony Ericsson dumbphone I had until 2019.

Now pretty much the only things I can do on my phone are call and text. Not having WhatsApp and Signal has proved slightly inconvenient when it comes to being included in groups, but I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of it doesn’t really mean anything anyway. What’s meaningful is voice and in person communication. That’s real human connection. So that’s what I’m trying to focus on now. I’ve still got a bit of a way to go when it comes to being as connected to people as I’d like to be, but I think limiting my communication options is a step in the right direction.

I’ve come to the conclusion that compared to in-person communication, things like WhatsApp create the same illusion for me that Facebook did. It makes me feel like I’m connected to people when I’m actually not, and in reality the more I use these things the more I become disconnected from people.

A couple of people have asked me if the dumbphone is a temporary thing, but I can’t see me going back anytime soon. I still have a smartphone I have for work, and I’ve found myself increasingly using that when I don’t need to over the last few weeks which is something I need to keep an eye on and a reminder how bad for me it is having access to this kind of device. As I’m currently on a break from work for the festive period I’ve turned it off, which feels better.

It’s interesting the reactions I get when people see my phone. Some people are in disbelief as to how it’s possible for a human to function with such a device. Other people are in admiration. I got chatting to a lady on the bus the other day that was full of teenagers who had just come out of school. She commented to me on how many of them were glued to their phones, and when I told her I’d given up my smartphone and showed her the phone I’m using she shook my hand. Some people experience both bafflement and admiration. “I wish I could do that” one person said.

All the things

There’s been a lot of change since the last time I wrote here, and especially since the last time I wrote about my general life situation.

At the end of Jan 2023 I moved house. Before that I’d spent the best part of 10 years living in situations that were either temporary, bad for me, or both. Now I live in a nice, spacious house with two lovely housemates that even has reasonable rent (in Bristol in 2023, surely not!) The best thing is, I didn’t even look for the house, it just happened to me! We met at the 40th party of a mutual friend.

From Nov 2022 to March 2023 business was very slow. Slower than it has been at any time since I started in 2014 (including 2020) and my financial situation got progressively worse and more stressful. Then at the beginning of August, my van died and my full time admin assistant left in the same week. At the time I thought this sequence of events was catastrophic, but then I did the maths. I realised that without a van and a full time member of staff, my overheads were now drastically reduced. So if I did the admin myself and supplemented the commission I make from my other drivers with occasional longer distance work that it was worth renting a van for, I could just about make ends meet.

A couple of weeks later, in the middle of August I went on a bike ride that caused me to feel quite unwell. After a longer time than was sensible (definitely not nearly a week) I sought medical advice. Within 5 minutes of speaking to NHS 111 an ambulance was at my house, and because my blood pressure was insanely high they took me into hospital where I stayed for two and a half weeks. After 6 different scans, the conclusion was that I have reduced heart function (38% when 50% is considered healthy). The reason why my heart function is reduced, or why I suddenly felt ill is still unclear, but I’m now on quite a bit of medication and my blood pressure is at a healthy level. The technical term for reduced heart function is unhelpfully “heart failure” which isn’t as alarming as it sounds. Before I learnt this I would have assumed that if someone had heart failure they would be abruptly dead.

I’m still struggling with fatigue more than I was before my hospital visit but it’s a lot better than it was when I first came out of hospital. I have struggled with fatigue due to anxiety since my breakdown in 2012, so now I have a second cause of fatigue it’s hard to know where the line is as to what’s causing it.

I’ve written quite a bit on here about my device addiction. In mid October I went away without my phone for two nights to the same hotel in Tewkesbury I went for the same reason in June last year. This time the withdrawal was more difficult, and I had a pretty unpleasant time as a result, but that just emphasised for me how much I needed to do it. It really helped and I’ve been feeling much better as a result, although I have been slipping a bit the last couple of weeks, so need to watch myself.