Canary and miners.

Bonjour !

Here I am. The first time I’ve heard about PTSD I would never consider – me – being involved, once in a lifetime. Never say never. Usually, PTSD are referred to vets from battlefields. This is not the case. Although, living in parisian region since last years, it’s sometimes recalling Tel Aviv or Libanon tv images. Anyway, I won’t tell you that this is apocalypse, cos to be honest, I am not so fond of biblic books. But I watch tv news once a while. And still live in real world:) Catastrophic events are more and more likely to happen to common people, like your neighbour, or ME, and YOU. And because we are unique, as individuals, we can have unique reactions to the same event, eg. earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism attacks, fake alerts, war battlefields, but also everyday stress and anger management issues. Times they are a changing. Society evolves fast and speed, as well as enterprises are transforming their structure calling this process of internal reorganisation, « rational ». Their politic is mathematical and algebrical, so no more room for emotional issues, or troublemakers, ….

Do you knoe the story about canary used for testing carbon monoxide gas in last century ? According to a few sources, canaries are good early detectors of airborne poisons, they simply need more hoxygen, to fly high, than mices. The idea of using this sentinel species is accredited to physiologist John Scott Haldane, the inventor of hoxygen mask against World War I gases employed by Germans. He investigated mine disasters, especially, the toxic gases which killed most miners after firedamp and coal dust explosions. Finally, in 1986, electronic gas detectors replaced those lovely vocalist birds. This use of canary for testing environemental health reminds me of my burn out, at work, in september 2015. Constant stress exposure during a long period of time, or chronic stress, and Paris attacks (january and november 2015) caused me PTSD ( panic attacks, physic, mental and nervous exhaustion, break down, tremors nerves, anxiety, sleepless nights, memory-lost, rage attacks, hypervigilance, paranoia, and various addictions).

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To be honest with you, I admit I have been quite workhaolic since 10 years now, since I left my homecountry, and moved to France, parisian suburbs, in december 2007. That means, that all my family network lives in Italy, and although I am quite social, and friendly, it’s been quite hard to build new relationships, and friendships. Especially, considering the crazy turn over of young people in the company I am working for, still an uncertain time (please, accept my discretion on this subject). That means that every two years, I saw my new friends leaving for Uk, Us, Italy and Spain. Some spared money and they are world traveling, right now. Some met a life companion, dating on line, and eventually got married. And moved to Abu Dabi, Emirates, to get a cute tan and a new lifestyle. Since I am not keen on high tech, I have been in and out social networks, several times. I still like penwriting. Or writing emails to keep in touch with old friends. This habit is less common today. It goes all so fast that people can’t find their time to stop, close their eyes to relax a second, and breath ….I don’t blame anybody, coz I have been that person, me too. You just feel compelled to go on marching in.

Circumstances led me to my very personal « battlefield ». And this blog is meant to detail what kept me alive, and still does. How I crossed over the desert, and met wonderful people who helped me getting out of deep quicksand. Step by step. Inch by inch. In Al Pacino words, from the movie Any given Sunday : « I tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy who’s willing to die that who’s gonna win that inch. And I knoe that if I have got a life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Cos that’s what living is. The 6 inches in front of your face. Now, I think you gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You gonna see a guy who will sacrify him self for this team because he knows that, when it comes down on him, you gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do ? »

 

No more excuses.

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At the time of Paris attacks, january and november 2015, I was already struggling with chronic stress due to toxic work and lifestyle. Anger and frustration made me piss off all my dears, lover and best friends. All I needed was a warm and deep hug, listening, caring, and the way I had to call for it was just screaming and exploding in violent raptus of rage.

My boyfriend eventually ran away. He had two children, divorced, so I repeat to my self that I can’t blame him, if he couldn’t stand by me, upright. Btw he didn’t either make any effort to try to understand what was wrong with me. He just found that we quarrelled too much. Raise your hand if you went through low self esteem issues. « Am I worthy ? » « Will I ever find the right person who can stand by me upright ? » « Will I die alone ? ». « Will I ever find a balance in life ? ». It goes without saying, mental health issues made me loose my job, or did I loose mental health because of that job? Serving people, in a multicultural entertainement environement, made me very passionate about it. Let me be honest with you, I was brilliant, and guests really appreciated my concern at their demands. The fact is that I really felt like I had been damaged, someway, because of other’s fault, too massive tourism flow (low cost budget packages), and severe, partly ghostly, management. The lack of staff, and destroying schedules planning, did the rest. Financial results were all that counted. The same week that I’ve got my sick leave, company’s director proudly announced, on a meeting with occupational medicine and unions, that our team was good, perhaps the best in statistiques. Psychological risks were zero. 

Sure, I felt alone, powerless and, yes, the weakest link. Me, burnt out, no kidding.    

Ok, now, no more excuses. When you put your self in a situation, more times in life, and you repeat the pattern, it’s not just a lack of chance, or others bad will, you shall investigate in depth. C’mon, it’s not your fault, I am not saying this, but it becomes your responsability. “What are you gonna do with that?” There’s some lesson there that waits to be learned by your Self. My first lesson, Self Love. Self care. Self worth. Scary, but true, I admit that at that point of my life, my routine didn’t have any purpose except to soldier on. No sense at all. “Metro, boulot, dodo.” The daily routine of commuting and work was leading me to apathy.

Apathy: when feeling becomes too much.