Desert Island Discs – The Pharaoh Edition! 

This is not gong to end well. 

Think of every piece of music, every song you have heard in the course of your life and then try and pick eight of them that you would take to a desert island and live with for the rest of your life. 

Tough isn’t it ?. 

But, in the furtherance of science…or something like that, here are eight pieces of music I couldn’t live without! 

Beethoven -Symphony No 6 “Pastoral”

This was played at Mums funeral. It was also played at a friends funeral a few years ago and, when I’m in a pensive mood it’s one of those pieces that is, I think, best listened to alone where you can let the melodies wash over you and let the emotional response come forth. It’s extraordinarily beautiful and I can understand the attraction it holds for so many people. I adore it. 

Sky – Toccata

Anyone remember Sky ?. I do. Until they experimented with vocals instead of sticking to instrumentals they were one of my favourite groups and this version of the Bach classic was the highlight track that not only made it to No 2 in the charts (when the charts were big and meant something) but made them famous. The talents of John Williams (surely the most technically accomplished classical guitarist ever ?), Herbie Flowers, Tristan Fry, Francis Monkman and the late lamented Kevin Peek (how he ruined his life was an utter tragedy) combined in a sweeping, soaring, rocking tune of dazzling musicianship and a cracking tune!. 

Mozart – Piano Concerto No 27

In truth this is one of several Mozart concertos I could have chosen. I love them all but his last, this one, is especially fine and full of memorable tunes. As with most classical pieces there are many options to choose from but I always return to one by that most masterful of Russian pianists, Emil Gilels, so that is the one I would take. 

The Michael Schenker Group – Looking for Love

When I hit my early teens I discovered the world of heavy metal (dumbest term ever) and, although I do have a guitar (skill level…err…none ?) the guitar hero I had growing up was Michael Schenker. In truth he’s probably the unsung guitar hero of many. Gibson Flying V in black and white, the black leather jacket, blue jeans, blond hair; he just looked like a rock god was supposed to look. Immensely talented and with a keen ear for melody over showmanship he wrote some cracking rock tunes. This is one of them. 

Henselt- Piano Concerto

I’m very fond of piano music. I have great admiration for anyone who can play an instrument and we are fortunate to live in an age of so many wonderful pianists. The likes of Stephen Hough, Steven Osborne, Andreas Schiff, Maria Joao Pires and Martha Argerich are extraordinary in both their technical prowess but also the emotion they bring to pieces both old and new. But of them all, my “hero” is the Canadian Maestro, Marc-Andre Hamelin. He is perhaps less known for playing popular pieces but rather for bringing to the fore often technically fiendish repertoire which has faded from memory. Every challenge is met with bravado and colossal technique. The Henselt Concerto is full of life, wonderful tunes and playing of the highest order. 

Howard Shore/James Galway – The Grey Havens (Lord of the Rings) 

There are many evocative pieces in the soundtrack to this extraordinary trilogy. Many pieces that inspire, delight and move me. I suppose I could have cheated and had the entire soundtrack but the piece I’ve chosen is, I think, just lovely. It conjures up the scene perfectly, the end, the journey being over yet a new one beginning, a lament to a friendship that must end through circumstance but with notes that hint of a brighter future for all even if their paths are different. James Galways flute is simply achingly beautiful here. A wonderful piece. 

Saint-Saens- Violin Concerto No 3

We are also fortunate that we live in an age of extraordinary violinists. Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, Gideon Kramer, Joshua Bell amongst many others. I recall watching on Tv, with enormous delight, masterclasses run by the genius Maxim Vengerov whose enthusiasm for his instrument and the music he was playing was utterly absorbing. But in my collection I have a live recording of Saint Saens 3, with the Israeli Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta accompanying another dazzling talent in Julian Rachlin. And it’s utterly amazing. The Concerto is bright and bubbly, it zips along and has a heart melting slow movement before the third brings us to a rousing conclusion. Rachlins performance is exquisite. He is a master of the instrument and the fact it’s live only adds to the excitement. 

Enya- Orinoco Flow

This one is for Mum. She introduced me to Enya after Terry Wogan had introduced mum. I wasn’t sure on first hearing but she just grew on me. I’m not sure this is a favourite as, again, I have many, but it’s where it all started. It’s mood music. It’s very carefully crafted and it shouldn’t be forgotten that Enya is really just the front person of a talented triumverate including Nicky and Roma Ryan who produce and write the lyrics. It’s music for all days, all moods. It’s beautiful, reflective, melodic; easy listening probably, ideal background music for revising or reading. Mum always bemoaned the fact it took so long between albums. Unfortunately she died two or three months before the last Enya album was released but I know how much she loved Enya so it’s only right that I include a piece here. This is for Mum. 

And that’s it. Eight pieces of music I love. There are thousands more of course and if you ask me tomorrow I’ll probably have thought of something new to add. 

There’s nothing by Rush, my favourite band for instance. Or Abba. I could have had eight Abba songs quite easily. Jean-Michel Jarre (another Mum favourite), Mike Oldfield “Portsmouth” isn’t there. There’s no Dream Theater, Fifth Angel, Disturbed (Their cover version of “Sound of Silence” is awesome) or Toto. There’s no Scarlatti, Haydn, Litolff, Medtner, Weber or Grieg. The list is endless. 

But today that’s my list. 

I’ll put my iPod on later and realise I’ve missed out another piece. That’s just the way it goes. 

Perhaps I’ve introduced you to something new here, perhaps I’ve picqued an interest ?. 

What would your choices be ??. 

Autism Friendly Work – it’s a real problem! 

In my life I’ve been fortunate to have two roles I really enjoyed. 

The first was as a Court Clerk in two big Crown Courts. Swearing in juries, taking verdicts, advising the judiciary and basically being in charge, was pretty good for someone on the spectrum. It required planning, organisation, thinking ahead; all qualities that those of us on spectrum might have. 

I handled some very big trials. One or two are quite famous. I enjoyed the interaction with the bar and the high ranking members of the judiciary I was able to clerk for. I even clerked for one member of today’s U.K. Supreme Court in, I think, their very first sitting in criminal work. 

I liked the sense of team I had with my ushers. I know that a few of my clerking colleagues looked down on the ushers as being some sort of skivvy as they did the boring stuff of delivering papers, arranging the courtroom, putting out the water etc. 

But I never saw it like that. I saw us as a team and Karen, Alan, Lorna, John and Fred, amongst many, remain firmly fixed in my mind as being more than ushers but friends, team mates and good people. 

I was popular with the judiciary. Even hard to please judges seemed to like me. Getting praise from a judge is quite hard as you are normally invisible to them until something goes wrong but my organisational abilities and somewhat cynical humour seemed to appeal to them. 

I’m sorry if this sounds like boasting but I’m not, I’m just pointing out an environment in which being on the spectrum was pretty useful. 

The secnd role was born out of the first. 

Part of my clerking duties involved assessing solicitors and barristers costs in criminal cases. So when I got married and had to move I was head hunted and offered a job doing that on a full time basis. It’s another Autism friendly job. 

I worked out of a local court but then half there and half at home. My work was portable so I could sit in my own environment and determine costs at my leisure. I enjoyed the application of rules, the detective work, the sniffing out of fraudulent claims, the back and forth argument as to whether I paid too little. I enjoyed writing reasons for the costs judges to assess and the fact that my interaction with the rest of my team only needed to consist of six team meetings a year and the occasional call to get a second opinion. 

It was pretty much ideal. 

Unfortunately redundancy put paid to that job. Easier to pay everyone the same rather than look at each case on its own merits. Why have qualified assessors when a machine can just issue a cheque ?. 

And now I’m a tax advisor. I work in a crowded, noisy office. The phone rings, people talk, filing cabinets bang, chairs scrape, noise from the garage behind us interrupts train of thought. Each call is unpredictable. Will it require shouting ? A different accent ? Somebody crying ? Or someone who wants to blame me for something I haven’t done ?. 

It’s an unhealthy, soul destroying atmosphere. Communication in an office of 21 people is appalling. We are under appreciated, under recognised, poorly paid and, often the atmosphere is tense and deeply upsetting. 

My colleagues are lovely. The four ladies I work with on my team are all warm, generous and humourous. I often feel sorry for them because I see the frustration they feel, I hear it and I get that sense of utter despondency they exude. 

And if I can see it then it must be obvious. And if they can feel it then, with my heightened senses, the effect on me is magnified tenfold. 

But what do you do when you need money to live on ?. When there are so few alternatives ?. When you don’t cope well within change and your biggest fear is that, no matter how bad it is now, what if the next jobs worse ?. 

It keeps me awake at night. It causes me deep anxiety and physical issues. My IBS flares up every Monday morning. I’m exhausted and collapsing every Thursday when my working week ends. It stresses me out so much. It’s unpredictable, chaotic, noisy and there are no prospects. None. Nada. Zero. 

No promotion. No advancement. Yet we have to be appraised on a yearly basis. Same old thing. I’ve done well. I’ve done a lot. I’ve been helpful. That’s not a criticism of my team leader with whom I get on really well (we often find ourselves singing the same line from a song or thinking of the same pun at the same time when opportunity presents and you just have to let the humour out before you go crazy ) but she gets as fed up as I do…we all do, when it’s all so meaningless. It’s utterly futile. Utterly pointless. 

I dream of other jobs. I dream of jobs in which I’d be happy. I dream of jobs in which my talents (I saw them the other day in a carrier bag. I can’t quite recall where I saw them though) could be used or I’d be happy. A job in which my interests were catered to, a job in which I found purpose, a job I wanted to get up for, that I looked forward to, a job in which I was happy. 

Autism friendly work. 

I think that finding it and keeping it is a real problem! 

One day…

Perhaps ???

A matter of perception : Theirs vs Mine (The Autistic One) 

I am always quite fascinated at how people in real life perceive me. When I hear how they feel about me I automatically assess whether I hold that same view. I internalise it and analyse it. So here are a few perceptions that others have of me ….and what I think. 

1. That I am Jolly

Yes that was the word used to describe me. It’s not a word you hear much unless you’re a Pirate aficionado and then it’s usually in connection with someone called Roger!. 

I associate being Jolly with laughter, belly laughs and being a jocular fun loving individual. That’s not how I see myself. I have a sense of humour that’s very dry, cynical, based on puns and snappy one liners. It’s more “Yes Prime Minister” than “Benny Hill” and it’s one perception that I just can’t see. Sure I can make people laugh but am I that funny and in that way ?. 

2. That I am helpful

This perception is, I believe, down to good masking. It’s down to me actively making myself available to help others. But I wouldn’t say it’s who I was. I wouldn’t list it amongst my qualities (if I knew what they were) but it’s how others see me. It’s more about taking responsibility and trying to make sense out of order. It’s The Autistic loathing of chaos bringing my helpful self to the fore. It’s having to get something sorted because I fear the consequences if it is not. So, if I am helpful, I’m not doing it altruistically but rather through a sense of self-preservation. 

3. That I’m a nice guy 

No, I’ve no idea what that means either. I’ve had it said to me and I’m not sure against what standard I’m being measured. Are there degrees of niceness ?. 

Is this linked to the Jolly, helpful person (or is that Jolly helpful) that I supposedly am ?. I certainly wasn’t the nice guy that got the girl growing up, although perhaps you have to be sexy for that and I am the least sexy thing in the universe. I’ve seen inanimate objects that ooze raw sexuality when placed next to me!. 

I’m still not sure what it means to be nice so my perception of that is dictated by my not being sure what it is I’m supposed to be. 

4. That I am intelligent

Excuse the laughter coming from the corner, it’s my IQ reading a joke book entitled “The 1000 funniest intelligence jokes” and realising there’s a picture of me on the very first page!. 

Intelligence is, again, hard to measure. Leave aside IQ tests which may well appeal to certain brain structures more than others and once more it can be hard to accurately measure intelligence. 

And what is it anyway ?. Is it knowing stuff ?. Is it knowing specific stuff ?. Is it measured by educational achievement ?. If I know lots about Tax but nothing about Biology does that still make me intelligent; but only in a certain field ?. Are we talking about general intelligence encompassing several fields or more of an expertise in a specific subject ?. 

The trouble is, I feel, that describing yourself as intelligent is just setting yourself up for a fall. The moment you tell someone becomes the moment you know everything. Or are supposed to. People look at you expectantly as they prepare for you to give forth your wisdom. And when you don’t know you crash and burn. 

I don’t see myself as intelligent. Yes I’m Autistic. Yes my diagnosis is Aspergers. Yes I’m supposed to be “high functioning” (an undesirable and divisive label if ever there was one) but that doesn’t mean I know stuff. Or useful stuff. 

Being described as intelligent makes me uncomfortable. Because I don’t know how I’m being measured. Is it against friends, colleagues, family, Einstein ??. I don’t see myself as intelligent because I think that involves a certain amount of ego and I’m not sure I have enough ego to protect me when describing myself as such brings me crashing back to earth!. I’m certainly not intelligent in educational terms, no degree, struggles with A and O levels and has never passed a Mathematical test in my life!. 

It’s a real conundrum. 

Do I know stuff ?. Yes, but so does everybody else. Is the stuff I know somehow more intellectual or highbrow that what other people know ?. Does it have more value ?. Is it worth more ?. 

In some ways I think I’m really quite stupid. I don’t know practical stuff and bits about Egyptology are rarely useful in the world of Tax or in washing the dishes. I can’t change a plug, change a tyre or cook a meal involving more than two ingredients. I don’t have practical intelligence. 

So there we are, four ways in which people’s perception of me widely differ from my own. 

Which is right is, of course, a matter of opinion and perhaps the truth, in all cases, lies somewhere in between. 

But it is interesting to know how people see ourselves and compare it with the view we hold ourselves. I wonder how many times we are actually in a perception harmony with others ?. 

Are you ?. 

Growing up different 

I can’t honestly say that I knew, even thought I was Autistic when I was growing up. 

Autism wasn’t a word I’d ever heard and nor had my parents. I was just me and given that each family member had their own set of idiosyncratic behaviours, being different just seemed pretty normal. Well, our kind of normal. 

We never gelled as a family. We were never close or “cuddly”. We got on with each other but each of us was distant and it seemed like it was only at meal times that we came together. 

I was never sociable. The concept of friendship was, still is, quite alien to me. I mean, what do you do with them ?. I never had a group to hang around with or had birthday parties to attend. I wasn’t one of the in crowd so invitations were thin on the ground. That was fine by me. Parties were noisy, crowded, I might not like the food, had to pick a suitable present and there was a horrible social convention of having to invite the person who had invited you to your own party. Yuck!. 

I had people I played with. I played football in the football season and cricket in the cricket season in the park a couple of streets away with a few boys I knew but my being a stickler for the rules and organising them was sometimes a step too far when you just want to kick a ball about. 

And there were bullies. There are always bullies. 

I got bullied for being different, for being organised, for, yes, having intelligence. But not having street smarts. 

I liked to play with things in a very structured manner. I built things in solid colours of Lego bricks and got frustrated if I ran out of that colour. I couldn’t handle dull toy cars, I needed the brightest yellows and purples. I liked to collect toy soldiers so I could group them into regiments for proper manoeuvres. I didn’t want four or five, I wanted whole armies of Crusaders and Saracens so I could fight the great battles of the crusades. 

I wasn’t. Okay, I am still not, spontaneous. I had to think everything through. 

And I talked. My mother used to bribe me to be quiet for just five minutes. I was garrulous and endlessly chattering. Most of it was, apparently, nonsense. To them maybe but not to me as I held forth on football (usually) or my views on the world in general. 

School was a huge struggle. This was before the days where statements and SEN were heard of. I struggled in an alien world where there were rules….but people wanted to break them. Where break times, unless I played football, were just an indescribable mess of noise and chaos usually spent trying to avoid the bully who wanted to kick you for having looked at him the wrong way and where teachers looked at you with contempt if you complained as if to say “Man up!”. 

People messed about in class. Teachers were scared of some and did nothing. I was jabbed with compasses, was partially strangled, had chairs taken just as I went to sit on them, was spat at, threatened, punched, thrown off a moving bus and finally, to top it all, had my clothes thrown in the school showers and urinated on. 

That’s what being different got me. For being socially awkward, clumsy, hopeless with girls, saying stupid stuff, being nerdy, not fitting in, not having any talents the bullies could use (like being a good sportsman in their team) and being a very tall, very skinny, pudding bowl haircut, acne riddled, bespectacled youth, a whole lot of abuse and bullying. 

Yes, I grew up different. 

And it wasn’t much fun. 

So the bullies win again

A while back I fell out with someone on Twitter. 

I blogged, they accused me of hypocrisy, I disagreed. 

I disagreed via private direct messages but they chose to take it onto their public feed. They invited their followers to make their views known. They encouraged bullying. 

They also threatened to post my direct messages to Twitter so I could be exposed by them. So Twitter could see my hypocrisy in action. 

I wanted those messages put out there. I had nothing to hide. I was not rude, nor nasty, I agreed to disagree and wished that person well. 

I hope they are happy. 

I also blocked them as I noted further arguments emanating from them with other users. I also noticed I was called a “White, cis misogynist cunt” by them in a tweet. I abhor the use of that word but that is what was said about me. 

They also blocked me. 

Today I was followed by someone who had noted a Twitter exchange I had been involved in. We exchanged direct messages and, shortly after the first, it was noted that the new person was a follower of the person with whom I had fallen out months ago. 

My new follower then told me they could no longer follow me. If they did they would be “attacked” for doing so. They wished to avoid conflict and wanted to stop following me in case they provoked a response. 

In my view this person has chosen to side with someone who viciously attacked me, resorted to the language used above and has had continued arguments with others. That, apparently, is avoiding conflict. 

I give up. 

I try very hard to be reasonable and fair. I avoid bad language and would rather block than get into meaningless conflicts. I don’t like confrontation or upsetting people. 

But this ?. 

Fear of being attacked. Fear of being bullied because you follow someone ?. Seriously ?. Following does not mean agreeing with. It means showing an interest in what they say and do whether it’s your cup of tea or not. It’s about getting a range of opinions. It’s about broadening horizons. 

Perhaps I am a hypocrite for saying follow me despite the risk when I’m leaving Twitter to avoid the hate. Yeah, perhaps, six months ago they were right. But I’m fed up of trying to be nice and fed up of the bullies winning. Perhaps I’m fearful. But I’m fearful of my sanity if I remain. 

So the bullies win again. Directly, indirectly, doesn’t matter. 

Because nobody actually cares. 

My Top Ten Films (with a tiny bit of cheating) 

So, here we are, at the start of a new series probably entitled “Things you didn’t want to know about me!”. 

My top ten films, in no particular order. My desert island blu-rays! 

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Told you there would be some cheating. I know it’s three films but I don’t really have a favourite. I never enjoyed the book because I found it (them ?) far too dense and descriptive when I wanted dialogue to move the story along but I adore the trilogy. The casting is nigh on perfect and the special effects, although wonky in two very obvious places, are fabulous. I also need to say it’s extended over theatrical versions and all the extras on the blu-rays just add to the perfect package. Oh, and I cried at the end. 

The Hobbit Trilogy

More cheating!. Another book I never enjoyed and although it’s a short novel that Peter Jackson and crew have stretched to near breaking point, it’s Middle Earth, it’s glorious to look at and I love it. Again it’s extended over theatrical versions and the blu-ray extras are massive in detail. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Growing up this was a film I instantly fell in love with. It had Egypt in it (always a vote winner), it was humorous, well cast, exciting and had those escapist elements in it that appealed very much to the younger me.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I’m not a “Temple of Doom” fan. It’s a good film but seems at odds with the first and last in the original trilogy. This had Sean Connery, Petra, sheer escapism and those mythological elements that I went through a phase being utterly fascinated and intrigued by. 

Blade

I’m not into horror. I watched a few as a young man but nowadays it’s all nonsensical and gratuitous gore and just seems to get more extreme. Blade isn’t really horror although it does have the vampire element. Wesley Snipes is Blade. He looks and sounds the part and the mix of martial arts and, well, sheer coolness and bad assery of his character, got me hooked. The second film is very good as well. The third not so much. Neither are on this list. 

Kingdom of Heaven 

I adore big historical epics. I could have put Gladiator or Troy on this list as I love them both but Kingdom of Heaven (extended) gets the vote. Orlando Bloom is perhaps a little too clean cut for the central role but he is ably supported by the always fine Jeremy Irons and the strikingly beautiful Eva Green in this crusading romp. The settings are stunning, the battle scenes epic in scale and the fact it isn’t so well known or as popular as other epics, gives it an underdog quality that appeals. At times quite tragic it shows that in war, there are no winners. 

My Neighbour Totoro 

Thanks Mum. She introduced me to the delights of Studio Ghibli. The last film she watched the night she died was their latest offering. “Spirited Away” won an oscar for the talented Japanese animation studio but Totoro is, to me, their greatest work. It’s a children’s film without resorting to the over the top cuteness that Disney or Pixar seem to rely upon. It has adult elements in it but it’s also delightful and charming and lovely. I think everyone should watch it for its innocence. It’s just beautiful. 

12 Angry Men

Henry Fondas role as the juror who slowly turns the bigoted opinions of others is, to my mind, one of the greatest roles ever. It’s a clever film. It exposes how preconceptions, bigotry and stubbornness can bring out the worst in people. It’s 90 minutes of 12 men in a room. It’s exciting, it’s thought provoking and the acting is top notch. Each character is different and brings a different feel to their part as they slowly come to the realisation that the young man accused of murder might not be guilty after all. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling. 

The Shawshank Redemption

Possibly the best film ever in my opinion. You laugh, you cry, you cheer for Andy and Red and the very last scene in the film is just so beautiful. It’s a film about friendship, about the hope for something better. It’s thrilling, moving and deserved far more accolades than it received. 

The Mummy

Difficult to choose as this is the tenth film on my list and I’m conscious I’ve missed off a lot that I would have added if the list were my top 20 or 30. It’s really hard. 

I’ve chosen The Mummy for a couple of reasons. Firstly because, very much in the Indiana Jones style, it’s escapism at its finest. It’s a boys own adventure with a dashing hero. Secondly, it has Rachel Weisz in it. Now, I’m not one for recommending films simply because the lead actress (or actor) is a bit of a stunner but, she is!. And the interplay between herself, Brendan Fraser and Arnold Vosloo; their relationship, is what drives the film along. It’s also set in Egypt which makes it all so cool. You just have to watch it and not think about it. It’s fun. 

So there we are, my top ten (with a bit of cheating..) films. 

I missed out a few. Honourable mentions (aside from those already mentioned in passing) would go to :- The Mummy Returns, The Martian, The Batman Trilogy, The Revenant, Conan, True Lies, World War Z, Underworld, Zulu and a thousand others. 

I suppose a lot depends on mood. What do I want to watch. What, when my Anhedonia is rampant, do I have the capacity to sit through ?. But this is my “good day” list. 

And I’m sure I’ve missed loads off! 

Blurb! Living in the fog. 

This is weird. 

And I do mean weird. Strange. Odd. All of those. 

I’m having new treatment for fibromyalgia. So far it’s done, partially, what was intended in that the fatigue, that gnawing muscle ache has reduced. 

So far, so good. 

I can still feel the pain in my joints and there’s still a lot of stiffness, a dull tiredness in my limbs  and although I physically feel a bit brighter I am still very conscious that (a) I only need to do slightly too much and I crash and (b) walking up and downstairs, putting pressure on knees and ankles, is still a cause for concern. 

And I don’t know if the treatment is working. 

Hang about, you’re thinking, you said at the start that it was! 

I did. You’re right but the problem is that I don’t know which bits working. All of it ?. Part of it ?. Any of it ?. The weathers been mild. We’ve had some days of hot sunshine and automatically my fibromyalgia is better in warm weather. That makes it harder to judge the impact of treatment set against environmental factors. 

Whatever is working I have noticed that my mental acuity has not, alas, improved. I’m still fumbling around in the fog trying to remember things. I go to the shop for milk and buy everything but milk. Darn it! 

I’ve also noticed that I feel a bit drippy. A bit dreamy. A bit well, weird. I can feel myself, my core, my inner self but then, well, it’s had to describe, there’s a barrier between myself and reality. It’s a matter of perception for sure but it’s like I’m here and I’m looking at the world through a barrier. It’s a tangible barrier but it’s not a hard barrier. It’s soft, it’s pliable and it’s moulded to me like a second skin. 

This skin is in between me, the inner (real?) me and the outer skin, my skin, the skin I cut and scratch and bruise and hurt when things don’t go so well (that’s quite often). 

So I’m kinda trapped. But trapped inside myself. Locked behind a pliable, jelly like barrier that’s protecting me, it seems, from the reality of life. 

I don’t feel alive. I feel floaty, wishy -washy, stretched thin and ethereal. I’m living in a mental and physical fog that’s soft and warm but not pleasant. It’s preventing clarity, it’s reducing ambition and activity. It’s as restrictive mentally as fibromyalgia is restrictive physically. 

And it’s so damn annoying! 

And I want it to stop. 

It’s been two years now and the jokes wearing thin.