7 May 2011

Post 287: Lets just calm down

A tricky subject today, but nonetheless one I feel I need to talk about. Obviously you get criticised in life, by people in positions of respect; To me you innately gauge respect based on lots of different things; education; experience; age; gravitas; presentation etc etc. You also get criticised by your friends and those closest to you but the big question is: At what point does the criticism become an attack? And when does the critic/attacker cease to become a friend because my standpoint (for rightly or wrongly) is to assume everyone is a friend until they do something that makes you think otherwise. Maybe this is too trusting an attitude but I don’t have the energy to automatically mistrust everyone. There are people in this world like that, all with a story perched on the tip of their tongue about how it’s so paid off to have this attitude. Crikey, if I’d been like this I’d have got nowhere in life and since my stroke would have had to have booked a one-way ticket to the Dignitas clinic!
On a sort of related subject, it has always struck me as odd the way that humans behave. For example I could never quite work out why when you split up with someone you were madly in love with, why never seeing each other intentionally ever again was even on the list of options, it's bizarre that someone you were so close to and so comfortable with becomes like Kryptonite.
My last girlfriend could never understand how I could stay friends with my former girlfriends – half jokingly, half facetiously, I would say 'because then I'd have no female friends. That's right, I was a tart – god knows how!
I have also never been great at taking criticism. I think I can hear the words 'no sh*t, sherlock' forming in a few minds! In the pre-stroke days I felt I could at least listen and argue back, now I feel too tired to even put up a fight, at least straight away – in this medium (ie online), at least I feel I have some chance although naysayers have accused me of manipulating this, well I say f*ck 'em, it takes a lot to summon up the time, inclination and energy to even write anything. The latest row was seemingly won by the other person saying 'I was just being honest’, 'I simply didn't say what you wanted to hear', which got me thinking, if that is true, how has anyone got anywhere in life or got any honest friends? Friends to me are those who make you feel good when you see them, they make you laugh, they interest you, you trust them and they also advise you – now it is in my opinion the way which someone advises you is what identifies them as a friend, enemy or a bore to ignore. This is somewhere emotional intelligence rears its head again. I have been put along the whole Spectrum from emotionally intelligent (by a few of the senior bods at my last job to emotionally retarded (cruelly by a girl I was in love with) because I used to say emotion tends to invalidate most arguments (something my Mum and the Daily Mail could learn from), but emotional intelligence means that you have the powerto help people feel better and emotionally retarded means that you make them feel worse. A lot of this seems to be stylistic, ie it's as much to do with how you say it as well as what you say and having this stroke has screwed up how I say everything and might have put a teensy weensy bit more of a cynical/nihilistic/sarcastic slant on what I say although I was well chuffed when a friend I've met since my stroke called me a 'true gentleman, who understands emotions better than Shakespeare’ (post 210 from May last year ) Amber, I love you and your cheques in the post!
But seriously, lots of people tell me things I don’t want to hear all the time, because they don’t know me or aren’t directing them at me, that’s fine but it really hurts when someone who you thought was your friend is quite unpleasant, but excuses it by saying ‘I’m just being honest or that ‘ it was something you didn’t want to hear’, is it me or is that just being nasty, It's immaterial because it's more likely to get blood out of a stone than for them to apologise. Heaven Forbid they find out what lonliness is about. Maybe I can’t roll with the punches like I used to but I am feeling particularly vulnerable now so my job this week has been to try and take criticism better suggested to me by my lovely yoga instructor Sam. She is such a calming/relaxing influence and her looking like Billie Piper doesn’t hurt. She is worth her weight in Unobtanium and is quick to tell me if my mood seems better or worse each week or tell me if my balance is better or worse. The stuff about my mood is reinforced by my ‘worth her weight in Gold’ counsellor Cathy whose opinion I now respect enough to ask her to this hastily arranged medication discussion with Dr Malik next Thursday. On the homefront my new housekeepers/carers are brilliant. I feel that I am edging towards the kind of life that I envisaged ‘assisted living’ to be. It’s not my first choice of where I expected to be at age 34, but it’s better than being dead. That doesn’t mean ‘I’m glad to be alive’ yet!
One thing that put a smile on my face was being mentioned in another stroke survivors Blog. This guy, Louis, is a bit older than me, a former photographer and lecturer, describes me as a ‘bon vivant and good guy’ but most importantly cites me and this blog as his inspiration for his writing – an unbelievably nice thing to say. He writes so well and his observations about how he felt when he was in hospital are spot on.
I’ve got this appointment about my medication on Thursday which if I’m honest I’m nervous about.

Big thanks this week go to Jo for driving miles to take me out to Lunch on Monday – although I have little doubt she would have made a great housekeeper, I couldn’t have asked her to give up her life and job in Basildon plus my recent experience has taught me to keep the housekeeping arrangement formal plus I think this is a job for more than one person. Secondly, I want to thank Dan ‘cat’ for taking the leap of faith and pressing send on a mail he has sent me on the life-changing experience he is having with meditation, it is the fillip I needed to get back into it. I briefly had a go last year but I was no bloody good at it. Dan took a chance sharing his story with me because I’m a cynical empirical b*stard but these days I will listen (albeit critically) to ANYTHING that might help, although nothing will make me believe in god (especially a benevolent, omnipotent one).
My final thanks are thanks in advance to my great mate and slimmer Nick Walmsley who for no good reason is coming to shoot the sh*t wth me this evening. I can think of no good reason why he’d rather see yours truly rather than spend the evening with his gorgeous wife and kids. It’s official, I have been single too long!


dancatz said...

Bloody hell that was a surprise to see my picture!! Thank you very much dude. Is a pleasure to pass on the information to one of the rare ones x

Dom P said...

I look forward to seeing you and meeting your mum on Wednesday - should have those noise cancelling headphones, my brother in law has given me his as a late birthday present - good lad!

jonathan said...

Hi Dom

YOu may not remember me, but I'm Jonathan Price, David's brother.

I've been in Canada for the last 3 years and David told me about your blog.

I've thought about you in the past 3 years and your candid honesty in your blog is truly inspirational stuff, and I'll continue to read it with interest.
I don't know if you want to hear this, but my guess is that you want to be treated like anyone else so I'll tell you.
I was lucky enough to survive a craniotomy for an unruptured aneurysm last year, which was picked up by chance on an mri. I was one of the lucky ones.

Do you have a trust still set up?
BEst wishes

Dom P said...

Good grief, that is a name from the past - it sounds like you've dodged a bullet, and things are now fine? Makes you realise how delicate we are when you imagine you could have had a shocker. Stay in touch. I will always have fond memories of David and I behaving like brats at your house. Natasha actually visited me in hospital and gave me Physio advice. TTFN



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