firstly i would like to thank anyone and everyone who donated to me recently, especially one person who i won't name for privacy reasons. thankyou. i now have funds enough to acquire the nodes and equipment i need to complete my array of 8, and i should also be able to get some anaesthetic provided i can find somewhere selling it (topical, there is little chance of my acquiring any injectable lidocaine - that said, if you know someone that sells it and ships to the UK, or you would be alright with me sending you money so you could buy some on my behalf and post it to me, i'd be much obliged.) i will let you lot know what goes down with buying it, using it etc: i've got to source certain things - i'm not sure where exactly sells the gauge of needle i need or what G size the 5mm width ones are, i need a new box of latex gloves and some other crap, and i need to buy nodes - i'm gonna go with Amaal's ready-made ones instead of making them this time round, since that's just easier and they have a nice gold coating for an extra layer of bioproofing that i wouldn't be able to add myself. this will all get filmed too so you'll be able to see whatever i do directly.
more importantly: documentary stuff. it's still in production (in case anyone thought it had died or whatever) - 20min long, looking at my stuff and the biohacking world in general, produced entirely by my friend Paul Turrell (a film Master's candidate at the University of Birmingham, you can find some of his work on YouTube. Voxis Productions is his one-man production company.) the teaser for the documentary is here. Paul has asked me to put out a call for any biohackers, grinders, transhumanists etc in the UK - he is looking for secondary contributors to the documentary. anyone with implants, or who has done any surgical work on themselves as part of experiments, or who is really interested in the philosophy of transhumanism - written blog articles or books, spoken in public about it, that sort of thing. for that last one you don't even need to have any modifications yourself, just if you can speak well about the philosophy and get the idea of it across well for laypeople you would be perfect. he would like to include short little interviews with this kind of person in the documentary. he says he is not sure whether he wants to travel to the contributors to film them, or bring them to him in Birmingham, or do Skype or whatever yet, but he'll think about it and i'll let you know when he's decided what would be best. i am guessing it will probably depend on how far away you are - he prefers to film things in person because the quality of webcam footage is apparently usually too shitty to use for film work and will look really bad. (but if you come to Birmingham, i will buy you a pint and you will get to hear a big pile of transhumanist ramblings.) anyone that contributes will get their name in the credits (and i think also when the viewer first sees you in the film), you won't be an anonymous soundbite unless you'd prefer to be.
if you're up for this sort of contribution, you can email me - lepht
i'm completely broke, sadly. this month my partner is no longer employed so much much more of my income needs to go on food and bills and rent, which leaves a lot less than i usually have for unneeded things like experiment materials, the subscription fee for the MMO i play when i have the money, treat food and alcohol, meeting friends etc etc. so unfortunately that means i can't afford to complete my node array this month, although there ought to be enough scrimped up by the end of the month so i can get some good video / photos of a multiple node install for the documentary (they'll also go up here prior). i had hoped to be able to do it this month, but underclass gonna underclass.
i'm also gonna be seeing a psychiatrist tomorrow to see if they think any more talk therapy would help with my depression. as previously mentioned (i think) they don't think i have an autism spectrum disorder anymore, nor BPD - currently i just have "major depressive disorder" and "chronic back pain from spinal lordosis" as the things the government is paying me for while i try and get some qualifications together. i am really hoping it helps but trying not to get too hyped up for it because they might say no, or it might not do anything, you get the idea. more as it happens
i need to use this blog more. i kind of stopped because it felt like a biohacking-only blog and while i've been ill there's been fuck all to say about that, but it is actually my personal blog so i might as well update it for my own sake. there was a comment on youtube that said something along the lines of "this used to be a good biohacker now it just whines on its blog" and that also had a lot to do with not feeling like i could update this unless it was to say something really ~*good and positive*~ that could in no way be interpreted as whining or off topic. of course there is fucking nothing that i can say that fits these criteria so whatever, i should never have broken my "don't read youtube comments" rule (i ended up doing it as part of a "people do too say nice things about you!" conversation a good friend was trying to have with me a couple of years back, and lo and behold i was right.)
anyway this blog doesn't have any followers so i can write what i want. i'm not going to stop writing about biohacking stuff, but right now all i'm doing on that front is gathering money for components (i made a savings account for it! like an ADULT!)
i'm aiming to finish my array of nodes first, since i've been mostly screwing with chip stuff since last i did anything. i'm thinking i might break the rule of not putting them in your index fingers, although the thumbs are definitely still out, but these will go last if i do install any there since it's gonna be hardest to heal those. including the indices i'll need five nodes (i know, i know, that's shameful) but one particular site is filled with keloid, encapsulated debris from a prior experiment & this will require its own extensive operation to remove that shit. i'm not looking forward to that particular procedure but it's necessary for a complete array and besides it probably should come out anyway. my mess, my problem. this operation will require a nerve block at any rate since otherwise it will be too painful and i won't be able to do any decent excavation work on it, i'll just end up shakey and probably won't be able to take it for very long. hopefully not too much of the tissue is compromised, i'll be annoyed if it doesn't leave me with enough to work with for nodes later (especially since i'll have to come up with some sort of compromise where i maybe install the node at the same time as i remove the mass, which of course will require some additional pain and lengthen the procedure).
i also need to consider potential other projects, whether that's things i stopped doing in the past because of ill health or new ideas i couldn't pursue during that time. i'm well aware that i have utterly fucked myself over by not being available for years on end, but i am still trying to climb out of the hole, after all this time failing and falling back down to the bottom again.
lastly, if you tried to contact me in the last while and never got a response, please feel free to try again now, and please accept my apology for leaving you hanging. i am trying hard now to not do this to people anymore.
it will probably be christmas day by the time most of you read this, or later. i hope you have or had a good day wherever you were or whatever you were doing. may 2017 be less shit than 2016 was.
if you sent me email in the last year, i'm really sorry for not replying to you. i do read most of what arrives but there's a high volume of spam plus a similarly high volume of legit emails, so it's hard to reply to them all when you have no motivation to do ordinary day to day tasks and even less to interact with people.
my partner is looking after me - he's doing a good job. i have not been very well this last year, and it didn't help that i spent about six months trying to do a networking qualification that was too advanced for me and not actually relevant to my eventual CEH qualification since i already know basic networking (it turns out that the one i was trying to do, the CompTIA Network+, is actually quite high level and involves a LOT of background reading for someone who has been on the programming or security side of things rather than the network engineering side. it's probably a fantastic exam to take if you want to be able to understand the logistics of every network everywhere and be able to engineer the perfect network for the situation your clients are in, every time, but it is way too in depth for a hacker to learn from scratch.) i've contacted the training provider about this & luckily they were really understanding - they apologised for having suggested the Network+ to me on the phone, and reset the time i had paid for so that i didn't pay for six months of wasted training and stress that got me nowhere. i'm currently working on the CompTIA Security+ & should be going back to that after christmas. i haven't done lots and lots of it but it seems like it's a lot closer to what i've been teaching myself for all this time than the Network+ was.
i am trying to be more accessible this coming year. my immediate plans are to attempt to restart my haptic compass project, and to complete my magnetic implant array. this will eventually also involve removing the failed experimental debris left in my right small finger (this debris is what you could see in the short BBC3 documentary, for those that asked - it is the encapsulated remains of a node whose experimental covering i was testing. it no longer works and will have to be removed before i can use the space to install a new node but this would be a long and involved surgery with a lot of pain and for this reason i have been avoiding it.)
merry christmas to you all, and many happy winters to come
okay, several questions have been floated at me regarding wot i fink about gender issues, etc. and i figured well i do have the word "genderless" on my sidebar so i ought to at least explain what i mean by that rather than spit a tumblresque EDUCATE YOURSELF SHITLORD at you and be done with it. by the way when i was first learning the ins and outs back in like 2004 that really was the recommended way to deal with strangers, friends and family asking you questions. It's not my problem to educate you about this, it's yours, fuck off and google it!
first up just so we can get the basics out of the way: i'm not talking about biological sex here. i have XX sex chromosomes, normal female secondary sex characteristics, no chest hair here. i'm not denying that this here meatshell is a female-type one rather than any theoretical "neutral" type (i dunno, like a genetically modified construct shell or something.) i'm on about gender, as in, the social roles expected of men and women respectively. this is what people mean when they throw around "gender is a social construct" - they mean there's no brain difference between men and women that makes us behave in "masculine" or "feminine" ways, just differences in our upbringings and culture. (some people are using it wrong because they confuse gender with sex, but w/ev.) i'm of this opinion too, which makes me very unpopular with some people who are invested in the concept of having been born with a "male brain" or a "female brain" for whatever reason. [there's some cool recent neurological research relevant here also.]
having got that out of the way, i have no problem whatsoever with people who are fine with their gender or the concept in general. if you wanna behave in line with the social role you're prescribed and the ways you're expected to behave, you do dah. same if you wanna take on the other role cause you identify deeply with that gender. i don't think doing these things makes you "wrong" or "a bad person" or "oppressive" or whatever. i'm just one of the people that doesn't like either one. for this reason, i'm not a transman, as some people assumed (which is pretty strange honestly because i have tig ol' bitties that i don't try to hide and i wear bungloads of makeup and stuff, i'm not sure where you'd get the idea i was uncomfortable with a female body / considered myself a man unless it was "you do man things like coding and biohacking, you must really be a man" which is... er, a faulty conclusion with flawed premises, let's say.) sometimes expressing this set of opinions and preferences over and over is a bitch so i just go with the associated labels, which would largely be "agender" or "genderless". it's the same reason i refer to myself with "it" pronouns.
speaking of these, i really honestly will not get my arse in a tangle if you don't use them. some people don't like neutral pronouns. some people find "it" to be dehumanising and would rather say "they". some people think the whole thing is stupid and will refer to me with female language cause of my obvious physical sex, and so will strangers who have no idea about what kind of thing i prefer. this is fine! it's just something i do to make myself feel better. i massively appreciate the people who do use the same language i do, but this is pretty much going (very far) out of your way to alter your normal writing methods as a kindness to me, so i'm not asking you all to. you don't have to worry if you see a text that talks about me "misgendering" me (that is, using different language than i prefer). it's not going to upset me or set anything bad going in my head. in fact, i don't google myself and will likely never see it.
hopefully that more or less straightens people's questions/concerns out? hit the comments if not.
it's up on the BBC3 iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/8ca601f1-2d4f-412a-8c94-ad0b3497ac4e
this is a BBC3 professionally filmed documentary rather than the semi-amateur one Paul is working on (that one will be done by the end of the next academic year, since it'll be his graduate thesis). this one is also free to watch for anyone and should work fine for anyone outside the country (i think, i never tried.) it's also on youtube, on BBC3's channel. Paul's documentary will be a lot longer and more in depth than this one, which isn't all that long, about five minutes i reckon. it won't take you long to get through. i did a lot of interview-type talking for this one in various different places, and upgraded my RFID chip on camera for them. the film crew were great and really decent people to work with, and have been all the way up to its release.
also some of you have been asking me about various gender and pronoun related things on twitter, which i can't explain in tiny little tweets, so i'll try to do that in another blog post. enjoy watching me forget how to talk properly whilst being filmed
recent experiments seem to suggest the possibility of using acetone to dissolve various RFID and contactless devices to gain useful components. i also found the local Rag Market selling 100% acetone for cheapsies, which is always good. by "useful" i do of course mean "useful for installing beneath one's sliced open and surgically retracted flesh in order to further one's admittedly bizarre experimentation". biggest problem right now is making coiled-copper antennae, which are very delicate, suitable for implantation (i.e. bioproof) whilst still retaining functionality. it seems that a square shape, not filled in in the middle, with the chip connected to the coil on the outside (and the whole thing coated in whatever) is the best proto-dealio to be manufacturing, as it seems like that's the most stable construct that maintains the original shape of the device somewhat but also has the smallest surface area. as everyone probably figured out by now, items with a small surface area are far more likely to take beneath the skin than larger ones, and for related reasons, stuff with holes in is better than stuff without, so long as the holes don't compromise the bioproofing (whatever it is you've used for that). but i've had a few failures (conceptual and otherwise) & now need further supplies to fuck with. i'm going to be messing around with a contactless, refillable bus pass they sell around this area of Birmingham this time (sort of like an Oyster card if you're familiar with those). more as it happens / doesn't happen / gets horrifically infected and results in loss of limbs.
in other recent escapades i went with Paul (the documentary bloke!) to the Circus of Horrors a while ago. it was pretty amusing, although the posters led me to expect less than the quantity i actually witnessed of midget cock, balls and/or arsehole (how does he lift that weight, even with what are proportionally rather large tools?!) we accidentally bought VIP tickets and thus Paul calmly appreciated the artistry while i drank both of the little bottles of red wine we were given, plus a complimentary vodka lemonade, and spent most of the evening thinking a mixture of "HAHAHA WOW YAAY" and "I LIEK FISHNETS, I LIEK CORSETS" which i'm pretty sure is exactly what you're supposed to do anyway. it was immensely fun, they gave us free snacks and a tiny box of delicious truffles, and we even got to talk to the ringleader/owner afterwards (i did not say anything retarded, surprisingly.)
while that has exhausted my "fun stuff" budget for a while, i have got some cash left saved for experiments, so worry not. i'm not spending scalpel money on drink like some sort of *crazy person*.
gleetings ferrow humans
this is the research statement for Paul's documentary, slightly edited to remove personal information etc. it's on the blog Google Drive so you can freely spread the link around (anyone with the link can view it). a research statement is pretty much an outline document saying what we want to do with the documentary, what's in it, what Paul's intentions for it are, etc. it might be interesting to some of you.
here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxZXy_80YNwBamVnazNLM0lYNlU
hey all. recently i upgraded my RFID chip to a writable version of the same basic protocol type (close-range passive and if i remember right it's still an EM4102 chip.) it's one of the ones from Dangerous Things (Amaal Graafstra's shop), which i'd happily recommend - he was able to arrange fast shipping, the chip arrived very well protected, etc. i also managed to source a newer, sleeker USB tag reader, although its range is awful compared to my old Phidgets one so i might just carry on using the old one. i even got hold of some topical benzocaine cream which is a first. that stuff was extremely useful & i might have to try it the next time i do any fingertip installations, since a lot of the difficulty with those comes from the pain and the toughness of the fascia in that area - having the area numbed might well mean i can go a bit slower, be a bit more precise with the depth of the needle puncture incision.
i did the chip installation at home, with my standard bleach-and-alcohol treatment for the table i was using and hibiscrub to sterilise the hand alongside sealed tools and glove for the other one. i figured out a long time ago that it's better to use a needle than a scalpel, so in the pix i'm gonna share here you'll see me making the incision with a 4mm sterile piercer's needle blade. i did also acquire two of the weird pre-loaded needle syringes a vet would use to install an animal's ID chip, but those turned out to be difficult to unload (you can't use an animal ID chip on a person cause they're specialised things that hold animal-specific information, can't be overwritten with any other info, and require a specialist reader and software what is very expensive.)
so here's some pix:
the whole thing is very well healed now, had no healing problems whatsoever, changed dressing daily for a week and then it was pretty much done. the whole procedure was filmed too, by both Paul and some professionals, but i don't know what's happening with that footage so i can't release it to you yet or talk about what it's for. in all likelihood nothing will come of it and i can put Paul's video up here or on rutube for you after i get the go ahead, so watch this space or my twitter & i can let you know what goes down. i'm also currently working on something else, but no point posting about it until i know whether it's a viable experiment or not. if it fails spectacularly i'll post pix of that too just for the lulz.
woefully underattended! it was like a paedophile's funeral, as my cameraman said. about six attendees and one of them was the poor guy organising the event in the first place. it took place in the lower floor of a nice little indie-type cafe place, and having tried in vain to recruit the two sweet old ladies who occupied the lower bit and the small collection of Hallowe'en hating hipsters typing on their laptops in the upper half, i ended up giving a talk to the organiser and five or so people who weren't doing anything for Hallowe'en.
not that the organiser didn't try to publicise it, mind; he was pretty apologetic about the crap turnout, and about the (egregious) mistake of having scheduled the talk for the biggest party night of the month thereby almost guaranteeing that nobody would be interested. you live, you learn. he was a really nice guy & a good host, and the group he's set up seems like it's probably going to be a decent little H+ group once it's matured a bit and attracted some more members, so if nothing else i spose this was an OK talk for those five or so people and a pretty good lesson for me (in that i should have realised much earlier that the date was a bad idea and warned the guy so he could change it).
we did film it, both as something to share if people wanted it and as food for the documentary, but owing to the location lighting and the interference of sound from the floor above us, the film's not of very good quality and will apparently need a fair bit of editing to make it watchable. i'll put it up for sharing as soon as it's finished.
as requested, here are the slides to the talk, entitled "Biohacking 101" on Google Drive. they're free to view for anyone, so feel free to spread the link around. i think the talk contains some decent info for beginner biohackers or people just interested. it also has some stuff on ethics, etc that i didn't go into in the 27C3 "Cybernetics for the Masses" talk, although they're similar to each other.
film will follow when i have it. might post the raw unedited stuff if the edited one takes ages, though it will be godawful.
also as a few people suggested: if any group around wants, i'm happy to give similar talks to whoever wants them & can be arsed to arrange them, like university societies, interest groups etc. if you want a specific topic that's fine too. i don't charge money, just a drink and a toke if you're having em.
i have a speaking engagement coming up on the 31st of October, at Lee Rosy's Tea Room, 17 Broad St., Nottingham NG1 3AJ. it will be a short-ish talk about transhumanism and biohacking (as i see/practice it personally of course). it begins at about 6:30. as far as i know members of the public are welcome to come along & there's no entry fee (i'll update this if i'm wrong.) there will be a LibreOffice presentation and everything. i will be discussing past and present projects, basic steps to basic implant procedures, risks and ethical qualms, etc., as well as taking any and all questions (i plan to leave a fair bit of time for an extended Q&A session, since that's not something i normally get to do.)
it would be awesome to see any readers there. i invite you all if you can be bothered / are in the area / have an unhealthy interest in my intimate personal life!
it begins! (again.) i think living independently is good for me. i feel like a burden when living off other people, and having my own place is always nice. more or less settled in now, all the account information has been updated, bills set up etc. had a slight hitch on Thursday (08.10.15) when my old Fedora laptop finally gave up the ghost. the HDD made an ominous, bomb-like ticking noise for a few minutes, the system abruptly stopped responding, then the power died and refused to power back on. no luck with diagnostics/repairs that night or the morning after, until one last Chinese reboot convinced the machine to power on and load GRUB. from here i was able to get into Fedora, but only after about seven or eight minutes of loading and fan noise... when i actually got the window manager up, i found it responding slower than if i were sending commands via satellite from the fucking Moon. the terminal was no exception. i'd click or press a key, and literally several entire minutes would go by before the machine reflected what i'd pressed by opening a menu, showing the typed character onscreen, switching windows or whatever. with this excruciatingly slow method, i transferred my WIP novel to an SD card (it was the only irreplaceable file, i'd lost its backup on USB in the moving chaos). the machine itself is unusable and not worth buying a replacement hard drive for, so i haven't lost any data this time, but i have lost that. a new one's coming in a few weeks. it's one of these nice cheap preloaded Ubuntu ones for poor people so it should suit me fine. i don't need an SSD or fifty terabytes of disk space or 16G RAM, i just need some form of Linux laptop so i can function.
and meds. i also need lots of pain meds so i can function.
this Hallowe'en i will be speaking about transhumanism and biohacking in Nottingham, not sure of the exact place and time yet. i'll put up a post and a twatter update when i do, it shouldn't be very expensive if anyone wants to show up.
other news: next planned work is to upgrade my first ever implant, the little RFID ampoule tag i used for the various access hacks i took out of RFID Toys. it's very old and not writable or secured, so i've been wanting a replacement chip for a long time & am now in a position to replace it. (i say "replace", i really mean "install a new one and just stop using the old one because it's a pain in the arse to get things back out from under the skin of the hands and i can't be bothered".) i have a few ideas re where to source a suitable tag. will update you all as i get there.
once again i find myself apologising for the lack of blog-related content. the last two months or so have been utterly hectic: as you know, i was still staying with my folks after my attempt to do a second try at a University degree failed for lack of £27,000 in tuition fees, and when i last updated i was still there. since then my parents embarked on a massive house move: they decided to move to a different house in the same little town, someone else snapped it up, then their house was still on the market, they started looking further and further afield and ended up buying this tiny smallholding near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. (it turns out you can buy a lot more in Wales for the money.) there was a lot of drama whilst all this was up in the air: house viewings all the time where we'd have to scrub the whole place and hoover everything and hide all the personal stuff and take all three of my mum's dogs out of the house, the stupid old bat who eventually bought the place requiring four of said viewings, showing up unannounced, constantly threatening to pull out of the deal, etc. the move also necessitated my mum selling her wool shop business, my dad moving the whole premises of the little business he ran to an office on their new property, my brother (who works for my dad) and his partner and their two very very young kids also moving to Wales to live in the annexe attached to the new house, my great-grandma moving in with my Nan for health reasons, and my parents (and their large collection of animals) living in her empty house for a month or so with all their stuff in storage before they could even get to Wales. during all this, i wasn't sure where i could go or what would happen. eventually, after a massively stressful search for housing that would take itinerant losers as tenants, i found a flat.
so i am now in Kings Norton, Birmingham. truly a cyberpunk metropolis. please to not send anything to the previous address in Thornbury as the old bat will end up with it and frankly i would like to kick her in the ovaries rather than inadvertently give her gifts. if anyone would like the new address for sending letters, news, free anthrax etc., i'm happy to send it to you via email. my PayPal is still at firstname.lastname@example.org, and i'm still at the same email address and Twitter page.
my parents helped move all the crap in & i have now sorted out rent, bills, council tax etc. & am fully set up in here. now that i have my own place rather than just staying in the spare room of someone else's house, i'm a lot more free to continue/restart projects, collaborate, talk etc. on biohacking stuff. you can't really do experimental surgery in a tiny house that has lots and lots of pets.
other things what is interesting: a while back, the people who make the graphic novel series Metal Made Flesh named a biohacker character after me (sort of, they called the hacker Leift Antonym). as you can see below, she doesn't look anything like yours fugly. it was seriously flattering though, even if she does get murdered horribly and forgotten over the course of the plot. it's a very well written book, i loved the art and the world they show is a sort of transhuman purgatory; i'd definitely recommend it to fellow weirdos.
the documentary is (still) an ongoing work, which had to go on hiatus while we were all running around worrying about somewhere to live. Paul's supervisor on his degree programme is on board, and his degree will be completed next year, so by that time the doc in its final form will be finished and ready to... go on YouTube i spose. he is working on it as his degree thesis project, which gives him access to pro equipment and editing machines plus other bonuses & will make it a better film in the end. he wants to make it clear that there's nothing to prevent anyone else filming whatever they want - i've not signed any bullshit non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality stuff, he's not paying me, and there's no agreed-on exclusivity, so anyone else who wants to interview and/or film stuff about my work is welcome to. if anyone still even remembers i had a blog.
health crap: it turns out that methadone in liquid form is not actually licenced for use with pain patients! so i had to switch to capsules instead. they're easier to deal with. this is a temporary thing: because methadone is a. massively stigmatised, such that pharmacists/nurses/etc tend to assume i am a heroin addict in treatment, and b. a pain in the arse to get hold of owing to the weird distribution requirements for pharmacies, i will soon be seeing a pain management consultant here to talk about switching back to a small dose of morphine or whatever. i found out there's a cool adjunct called nefopam which should potentiate the morphine allowing me to take less meds and have more pain relief, so i wanna ask them about that too. i haven't yet accessed any mental health services in Birmingham but i have a new antidepressant (lofepramine) which is more effective than the last one, and i have been a lot better recently than when i was on my own before.
so thanks for being patient, if anyone reads this, and i will be trying to post a blog on Fridays now i have a lot less stress to deal with.
EDIT 15.10.15: had to remove some personal details. feel free to email if you are confused. i apologise for editing but it was unavoidable. also clarified some stuff regarding exclusivity & the forthcoming documentary.
i finally got my arse in gear and installed Linux back onto this machine. amazing how much faster the OS runs than Windows, especially if you've been putting up with the latter for any longish amount of time. i use Fedora, which has always worked out of the box for me, but i found that GNOME 3 is a bit weird and required Fedy and gnome-tweak-tool to be installed before i could turn it into something resembling a usable GUI. maybe it's meant for tablets like everything else on the fucking planet these days. (in other crap news, i lost my Kindle :( )
medication wise i am thinking about coming off the Abilify/aripiprazole. my metabolism is still slow as a snail on Valium and i still weigh more than i should, although i'm down to 10st 10lb from 11st. i can't stand being overweight, so i gave up sweets and that seems to have helped some, but not enough. might have to give up alcohol as well, possibly also red meat.
no biohacking news, sorry. that's all for now sibs. carpe corporem
so i've been waiting for months and months to see an autism specialist here in Bristol, and i finally got to see one for three sessions a few weeks back. i get called back in for a third about a week ago, only to find that they've undiagnosed me - that is to say, these specialists (and they're pretty much the experts) are sure i don't have a developmental disorder. so "what's wrong with me" has now gone from Asperger's Syndrome, to Borderline Personality Disorder, and now to nothing at all according to these ladies (apart from major depression.)
not really sure what to think of that. i trust their professional opinion, and their diagnosis was based on a pretty comprehensive test battery plus a massive arseload of history - interviewing me and my ma, pages on pages of questions about my life and my development (my ma's questionnnaire about me was 18 pages long) - so i don't think it's likely they've got it wrong. but if there's nothing wrong with me, officially, that sort of screws with my access to mental health services outside of severe depressive episodes. so i don't know if this is good or not.
anyone else run into anything like this? ever end up with a diagnosis that stuck?
okay some new things have happened and it is time to stop neglecting the blog and actually tell people something! hooray.
first some bad news. unfortunately i wasn't able to pay the tuition fees for my place at UWE, and i can't get a loan because you can only have so many years' worth of loans. there's no exemption to the rule for health reasons, apparently. i signed the withdrawal form on Wednesday to break the contract and officially cancel my student status, so i am now without an occupation other than "itinerant loser". i'm trying to trade in the credits i earned so far for a designated degree, as crap as that is. much better than no degree. after that, i'm gonna try and get some kind of research assistant job. if anyone knows of any institutes or universities hiring, i'm all ears, could always do with some extra leads.
second, some good news. i found a partner - although you probably already know that because i said it on Twitter.
also the documentary is still on - we have a lot of raw footage, plus my old videos, and i'm told it now needs lots of storyboarding to work out the narrative. then editing, graphic art work, more editing etc. i don't know fuck all about filmmaking really.
health wise i'm alright. i started a new treatment last week - a six-week course focused on mindfulness, which is a new treatment for depression that looks promising from the evidence. it seems pretty helpful at first glance. i also had a new drug added to my regimen - aripiprazole (Abilify), which apart from making me sleepy as fuck is actually helping my mood levels i think. between all of that, Paul, and the support i've been getting from you all i'm dealing with things pretty well overall. it's nice to have someone to look out for me.
can't think of anything else that's happened right now, but i probably will sooner or later. hope you're all enjoying the run up to Christmas, sibs.
ugh. i'm so crap at composing blog entries these days. here is some shit that has been happening:
while the current shitty depressive episode is still ongoing, i'm getting closer to some proper treatment. a few months ago my referral to LIFT Psychology, a local mental health service, went through and i was sent on a three-day "stress and mood management" course based on introductory cognitive-behavioural therapy. it did help explain some shit about how exactly the thought patterns created by depression work, how they become cyclical or "neverending", how triggers exacerbate them, etc. the downside was that although this knowledge might be useful if i do get any one-on-one sessions with a CB therapist, it didn't do any good for actually halting or removing any of those destructive patterns. that was the first day, and the other two were about anxiety disorders and anger management, so although i was there they weren't really relevant. they're gonna call tomorrow evening for a "review" and i'm hoping they'll send me on something specific to long-term depression now. i'll take what i can get. i also discovered that this whole time i'm meant to have had weekly or fortnightly appointments with my GP specifically to discuss my mood, thoughts, antidepressants and the like, which the GP has utterly failed to even mention, so i'm gonna try and set that up even if it's just a medication review. i haven't had the dose on my escitalopram (my main antidepressant) checked or adjusted for about five years now so i'm pretty sure it needs doing.
it was my birthday on the 14th - i got all the messages people sent me & all that, so thanks for the kind words. i also checked the facebook page duneo set up so thankyou for your messages there as well. my family went to the pub carvery (yeah that's how classy we are) and i abused the fact that i've survived twenty-six years without killing myself or dying of self-induced septicaemia to persuade the chef to give me an extra Yorkshire pudding and the tasty bit off the top of the roast beef that everyone else doesn't want. HAUTE CUISINE. my brother and his partner baked a cake that was blue on the inside, with yellow and purple buttercream, covered with iced flowers and rainbows, and was filled with jelly beans in the centre. it was a badass cake. i didn't want any presents on account of the cost, but my parents bought me a weird-looking toy frog to replace the one that i'd had since i was born that got stolen from me when i was moving out of University halls one summer (i had two big market bags that contained all my possessions/clothes/books and the one with all my textbooks, my toy frog, my recent birthday presents from friends, a little book that my dad gave me when i was two or three and my completely worthless sentimental-value jewellery was the one some scumbag lifted while i was loading up the other one into a taxi.) i named it Slymer II after the first one. i'm still gutted about that fucking frog.
regarding university, i have been trying to get into Bristol University, but we got the news a week or so ago that they don't take students without maths A2 levels, which i don't have, or they would have accepted me. their advice was either to go back to sixth form (yeah, back to fucking SCHOOL) for two years to get one, or to apply to the other local university UWE (University of the West of England). having looked at both courses, i'm pretty sure the Bristol one is too theoretical for the type of research i wanna go into - plus i don't wanna go hang out with a load of sixteen-year-olds who are still in compulsory education, i don't wanna wear a school fucking uniform, and i especially don't wanna go anywhere near the town secondary school which was the place where i got so badly bullied that i don't even have proper memories of most of it. the UWE course seems much closer to what i was studying in Aberdeen. i am actually very, very bad at maths - one educational psychologist in Aberdeen thought i had dyscalculia because i can't do basic arithmetic in my head, although i'm alright with stuff like algebra - so even if i did manage to get an A at the A2 level, i don't think i would be able to handle the contents of the second and third year university courses, which you have to take at the Maths Department with the maths students. even if i did i wouldn't be able to get the sort of grades i was getting in Aberdeen. seems like there's a distinction between mathematical, theoretical computing science in some universities and applied, less academic CS in others - the only thing i'm kind of worried about is that this might make it a "lesser" degree and maybe that would affect my chances of a career. when i was applying for places on linguistics & language degrees at eighteen i was repeatedly told not to apply to UWE because of its bad academic reputation, so i was also worried about that, but it seems that was referring to the Languages department, and UWE has apparently vastly improved its rankings over the last five years or so. so, i'm now trying to find someone at UCAS to find out how to apply for this place given my rather twisted situation.
in other news, my parents have decided to use what they've saved up over the past few years and take us on a holiday. a massive ten day holiday. the kind i've never been on before. they're going to some all-inclusive place in fucking Jamaica and for some reason they actually agreed to take me with them - i've seen the brochure and it looks incredible. the pool has a bar that you swim up to and sunken seats where you drink your drink and there's a snack hut on the side that gives you hot jerk chicken. it even has a Chinese restaurant. they're going in September (so my ma will have her 50th birthday out there which is pretty bizarre to think about because there is no way my ma looks fifty years old), so hopefully if i do get into UWE it won't interfere with classes, but i suppose i can always take some class work with me. i wouldn't mind working the whole time if i could go to the pool bar for breaks. i've never done anything like it - we don't have that kind of money and they've saved for a long time i think, it's never gonna happen again, so i'm still amazed they actually let me come. (hence why i didn't want them to spend any money on my birthday.) i am gonna have to take about ten cans of factor 75, and figure out a way to get a litre of heavy opiate painkillers into the country without being arrested, but i fucking love travelling when i can & i think it's gonna be fucking great.
i have also lost half a stone since being taken off one of my antidepressants, quetiapine. if any of you have depression, or an anxiety problem or a psychosis-related condition, i'd advise thinking really carefully about your calorie intake and checking the side-effects of your medications before you start if you're offered a new one. especially that particular medicine - it does help you with mood but it's so, so bad for side effects and i've had similar experiences (though not as bad) with others. i didn't look at the info properly and so because i didn't change my diet as they increased the dose i went from a size 8, weighing eight and a half stone, to a size 12 weighing eleven. being disgusted with yourself and not being able to figure out why reducing your calorie intake isn't working like it should pretty much offsets any benefits the drug might have moodwise, and it doesn't help if you're finding it hard to do things like put on makeup, shower properly, etc because now every time you look in the mirror or down at your body you're reminded that you're repulsively overweight. i'm hoping to lose the rest of the weight over the next year.
i'm loath to say "EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW" because it's still not and every time i say that something fucking awful happens, but shit is at least going a better way than it was a few months ago. i've been able to tidy the house and make the beds more often the last couple of weeks, and also to take my dog out for a couple of walks, and today i did the house, had a shower, did my hair and paint, and took my laptop to Hawkes House (the local omni-hangout that does restaurant food and tapas and drinks and coffee, that sort of shit) with the express purpose of putting a blog entry up and starting to deal with emails. a month ago doing any one of these things would have been the max i was capable of in one day, and there were a lot of days when i couldn't do fuck all.
i'm gonna try and do this again tomorrow. i haven't replied to any emails today (i was writing this) but i did clear out all the spam and automail, so tomorrow i'm gonna try and get to the emails.
i have seen an assessment dude from the psychiatry services here recently and said dude has recommended a pretty major medication shift. the main sleep medication i have is quietiapine, or Seroquel as its brand name. it's actually an antipsychotic (i am not psychotic) so it has some pretty gnarly side effects, but it works well as a sedative and is also one of the only well-studied treatments for BPD. i was fairly certain that because of this i'd be stuck with the shit for life. it's a pain in that it fucks up your metabolism and appetite - apparently almost everyone on these drugs gains weight, which is one of the things that's been really getting to me. i track and restrict calories but the amount that i lose weight on instead of plateau has gone way down, from 1500 losing me a good amount of weight per month to still weighing the same on 1350, so it's hard to actually get the weight off.
so assessment psychiatrist dude tells me apparently there's a new drug called aripiprazole or Abilify that i'd never heard of. says you add it on to pre-existing antidepressant regimes instead of replacing them, but he reckons it can replace the quetiapine. and it doesn't cause weight gain - in fact it's apparently associated with weight loss in depressives. fucking a. i agreed, and dude wrote to my GP (who is currently in charge of my psych meds until i can see a real psychiatrist, in the predicted waiting time of six to eight months, natch) recommending a regime change. he also pointed out that tramadol is a pretty crap breakthrough pain med for someone accustomed to 100mls of bloody methadone as their everyday pain control, but didn't suggest a replacement, so i have to go inquire therein about everything. hopefully i can see the GP either tomorrow or Tuesday and start that shit ASAP, although i did find that quetiapine can fuck you up if you stop taking it suddenly. mine ran out when i forgot to request the repeat scrip once and i was throwing up everything i ate for like five or six days. i think i'll probably need to taper off of it this time.
dunno how i'll do with sleep on just melatonin, but insomniac is better than fatarse.
well, i guess the "letter to resuscitate dead relationship" experiment is officially a failure. i've left enough time that it's almost guaranteed Muad-Dib would've got his hands on the letter one way or another by now, even adding on time for "heartfelt" consideration of words etc. most likely hypothesis right now given all evidence: the man simply does not give a shit.
the stupidest fucking thing is that i would have dealt with it a whole fucking lot better if he'd just said when he left me, "Look, you little crippled fuck, you're a massive financial and emotional burden and I'm fucking sick of taking you to hospital when I could be out drinking and fucking that slut we don't talk about because your crying over it makes me mad. I can't be arsed supporting you while you're sick and frankly I'm bored of morphiac sex so I'm leaving your sorry arse. You'll never see me again, feel free to recycle those love letters I sent you, ta ta."
instead i wasted seven months or more waiting for him to make good on his vague talk of "still caring about me" and "not wanting to be left out of my life" etc. etc. he spent hours on the phone with me (and repeating it all to my ma when i couldn't speak anymore) promising he still wanted to be in my life, telling me he just couldn't handle a relationship right now, he just needed time, all that shit of which the implication was that he would at least be up for giving it a go in a while. he phrased everything as if he was just exhausted and needed a temporary break. in fact, this was the whole point of sending me to England for respite care - to give him, the primary support in my life, a nice long break where he didn't have to worry about me and could just get on with his job and use his free money and time to go and have fun. naturally, i did not understand any of this heap of talk to mean "Fuck you, Anonym, I'm off, you ugly little wanker." of course this was apparently exactly what it meant. had he gathered enough balls to simply tell me he'd had enough of caring for me and would never come back, i could have been recovered four or five months ago rather than still being fucked up over it now. i at least have enough pride to know i deserved the fucking truth, but it seems he was too much of a coward to even tell me long-distance. he could have emailed me, sent a letter, texted me, anything. but no, nothing, leaving me to assume he still meant his words and really would come back to try again someday. i am pretty fucking pissed that he couldn't even do me the courtesy of cutting things off for definite. he thinks it's perfectly fine to lie about the possible future so i couldn't move on and then deny all communications, leaving me without anything to analyse, without any possibility of closure, not able to mourn what was nor hope for what might still be. from here it just looks like twisting the knife, although i know it was done purely to make himself feel better.
several people have asked for powerword & IRL address on him, more for his usernames etc. on various esports and WoW. i am this close to just collating everything i know and putting it all out there. if it comes around that i hear from some acquaintance he's replaced me, i'll fucking do it.