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Life Update June 2023

Intro

This is a relatively boring, long post all about me and my (monotonous) life. I wrote this originally for the intention to be transparent but ended up being mainly for my benefit to understand my life better. I don't expect you to read it all, and please skip the "Diagnosis" section. I was debating not posting it just because it'd be a snore but I will post it just in the off chance someone finds it interesting. Adding more context to my interactions in the word around me.

Issues

I like transparency and sharing my thoughts before they slowly develop into ideas and then get executed or acted on. So that people know what my intentions are, and to not hide a large side of myself. I'm not so great at doing it in real life, it's something I have a lesser ability for, but I try. So I often turn to social media to share things, make posts about myself and my interests. But social media lately has been burning me out, and I've been a bit anxious in general. Those two don't mix well! That's partly what I'm trying to communicate, my issues at the moment in life. I've been having issues with my medication, where I feel it's been making my thoughts spaced out and I've been sleeping in. It's possible I just need to take them at an earlier time, so I'm working on it. I'm caught between two community organisations, Hobart Hackerspace and Hobart Makers. It's causing me some stress at the moment, there is some conflicts I won't go into details here publicly, other than to say group A is pessimistic (and arguably unsupportive) about group B. But the thing is, I'm a committee member of three community organisations (including Tas Game Makers) which I'm starting to think is a bit intense. It's a lot to take on voluntarily. And I've been doing it for a long while (over 7 years). My plan is to leave one of the committees I'm on. I won't name the community organisation, but I've already let them know my thoughts. They're all good groups that have good people in them, both members and committee, doing good things for the community. I like to be a part of them so that I can help out where I can, committee positions are often in demand, but also it's a good learning experience. Another thing that's been on my mind is feedback. I don't get very much. With all the things I do, it'd just be nice to hear that I'm doing a good job? In these community organisations in particular, I don't get a lot of it. In other spaces in my life; work, social, etc, I also don't get a lot of feedback, positive or negative. Which is where some worries start to creep in. Am I doing something bad or wrong? Paranoia is a part of my condition.. and this is how it's manifesting, unfortunately. I'm trying to reassure myself that the fact that I'm doing these cool and impressive things, and I'm not really getting much negative feedback, is a sign that I'm doing alright in life in general. I'm not perfect and I have some stuff ups from time to time (particularly communication..) but overall, I just have to look at what I'm doing and accept it as being pretty good I guess. But you know, feedback helps..

Life as a whole

Relating to the above. I do a lot of things. A lot of nerdy things. Involved with technology-related community organisations, making lots of technical projects, running a technology business.. Yeah it's intense and likely a large factor that I have to limit my work hours considerably, for my wellbeing. It's interesting taking the time to look at my whole life, all that I do. Sure there's some variety but there's a lot of some common themes, like sitting alone in front of a computer, with great responsibilities on my shoulders and ambitious ideas on my mind. I'd say it's unhealthy and not something that's great for me with my condition. I get some teamwork experience, but only in a voluntary capacity. Over time, I feel the volunteering teamwork experience is burning me out. You can get sluggish and complacent, and no one will complain or try to help your motivation. Even some of your fellow committee members sometimes can get a bit slack which isn't that they dislike the responsibility, there could be problems like not having enough time for it. So it's maybe not as good for me as say, paid teamwork experience. My social life is often on my mind. I go to a lot of these community groups largely for the social aspect, but also to work on projects of course. Often a mix of both. But building friendships hasn't been so quick or smooth. I've been thinking about who are my best friends lately. Many of them are people who I don't get to see that regularly (less than weekly) so perhaps I should try to focus on them some more. Also, with leaving this particular committee, it would be changing the dynamic a bit. Less of a mix of social and responsibilities, all purely social. It might improve some of these friendships, who knows.

Diagnosis

As I've said in a previous blog post. I don't like repeating it too often, but it's key information that adds a lot of context to my interactions with the world and people around me. I have Schizophrenia. A bit of a spicy word, that some people don't fully understand. It doesn't mean anything too scary. I won't go into details here, there's the rest of the Internet for that, but I've been managing it fairly well over the last few years. Not perfectly, and I do experience numerous bumps and glitches over time. One of the symptoms is a sensitivity to stress. It can bring out various symptoms that aren't so much fun. So yeah, as above, working on all these technical projects, and operating in community organisations is a bit stressful! And I always try to manage my hours pretty firmly. But then of course I have lots of gaps and spare time where I.. work on projects for example. It's taken a long time, but I've finally got into the habit of being able to work during the weekdays, then spend one or two evenings per week on technical projects. Which allows me to get some more progress in my projects, but can burn me out in life, so I have to be careful.
The other unconfirmed diagnosis is Autism. It's surpising it hasn't been brought up in conversation, the suggestion of me getting diagnosed until just recently. I think I do exhibit some of the signs of autism, such as social difficulties and increased focus. I think the two conditions play together. I spend a lot of time on exclusively technical work because I my "autistic" side likes it, but then I don't do other healthier activities because my schizophrenic side can take away the motivation for some of that healthier thinking. Not all but a lot of it. I still like some healthy things, and arguably I'm doing a lot of healthy things in my life now (like the gym). But historically I've not had the motivation to do them.
So slowly breaking this cycle is something that might be slowly brewing..

Making changes.

As said above in issues, I think I will leave one committee. This should reduce the load of work that's maybe not that healthy for me. And allow me to focus on paying work, thus more income, thus happier. And my projects, where I hope to see more milestones that also make me happier. It might bring more some positive energy into my life. A weight off my shoulder and reaping the rewards from more work. Is the thinking. For the more neurotypical person I imagine it might seem obvious.
The other change I'd like to try to make is to try to find a part-time job, where I can work in a team of people on something. Likely technical, but in a team where the responsibilities aren't all on my shoulders but are shared. Under a paying context it owuld be interesting to see how a well functioning team would work. It might be enlightening. I have no ideas how to achive this just yet, but I'm quite determined to try. It's for my wellbeing, and I've taken it on as a deep responsibility to focus on my mental health, considering my condition(s). So lots of motivation to achieve it, unlike when I was first job seeking where I was afraid to commit myself to full-time roles. I have the stability of my business to keep me feeling confident as well.

Goals

As above, I can itemise my goals:

  • Reduce voluntary community organisation responsibilities
  • Find a part-time job where I'm working in a team
  • (not talked about here) Find a passive-income project
  • Improve time management even more such that I get more work done, complete more project milestones and have time for community organisations
  • Get up early every morning

Positive things

Listing the positive things I'm doing for my wellbeing

  • Going to the gym twice per week for strength training
  • Persisting with my medication
  • Improving my diet - reducing carbs and calories
  • Commuting to work by electric bike (when I can)
  • Participating in KaiKul goal-setting startup project
  • Still trying to meditate often
  • Participating in community organisations, which is better than being at home alone
  • Tried some new hobbies lately like amateur radio and astronomy

Negative things

Listing the things that aren't so great about my life

  • Lots of sitting in front of a screen working on projects by myself
  • Too many community org responsibilities burning me out
  • Not getting enough cardio exercise - I could be doing something like regular VR, more walks, or even jogging
  • Social life still a challenge to get the most out of
  • Staying up late and sleeping in (partly to avoid working lots)
  • My communication skills perhaps still need work - they can cause issues. An ongoing slow progress.

Conclusion

The tldr is that I'm doing many technical nerdy things either alone or in a team voluntarily. This hasn't been a great thing and I want to change it. More paid teamwork and less unpaid teamwork. With my condition(s) I need to try to avoid stress - so reducing the work I do alone, and working in a team where communication and co-operation might be a refreshing, healthy change. Not having it all on my shoulders, and having others to talk about work problems with. Might be a good thing for me. If I can find this job opportunity.

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