Sunday 20 September 2015

It's good to be out of there!

First blog back after a long break.
I made a promise to avid fan Gloria that once I wasn't as busy saving the damn world from the frankly evil clutches of Tony Abbott I would start the blog up again, and so here we are.
The headline, and associated picture come from the animated movie Aladdin, starring Robin Williams, now sadly lost to us through depression.
When first released from the lamp in the movie by Aladdin, the genie played by Williams emerges at pace and exclaims 'IT'S GOOD TO BE OUT OF THERE'.
And I can express the exact same emotion now that Tony Abbott is no longer the prime minister of Australia.
Man, that was a bad two years.
My concerns have always been first and foremost for the environment, starting at age 7 with a donation to National Parks following descent into tears after watching that great Dr Suess cartoon, The Lorax.
So I went to uni and studied science, zoology and chemistry, then my first job out of uni was with Greenpeace in Vancouver, then in Sydney.
So environment has always been a consideration for me, and so the past years of Abbott have been very stressful.
I think already the word is going around confirming that Tony Abbott is the worst PM ever in Australian history, and man do I agree with that.
Again, I can say from being up close and personal with it, that the worst, well among the worst, aspects of the Abbott government was his relentless war upon the environment.
The state of the art of environmental protest in this day is of course global warming, and no government on Earth did more to support the destruction of our atmosphere than Tony Bloody Abbott.
Abbott continually pleaded money as an excuse 'we must continue to mine and sell coal, else the country will go broke'.
This despite fact after fact after fact showed the opposite was true.
Supporting the environment with renewable energy created jobs and investment.
Coal mines led to massive health bills and environmental costs, which Abbott and his factotum of destruction, Greg Hunt the Minister for the Destruction of the Environment, wilfully blinded themselves from seeing.
The Climate and Health Alliance, for example, estimated that the global costs in health and environmental destruction from the coal being exported just from the Hunter Valley was costing US$26 billion a year.
It was a terrible time.
Additionally, it very quickly became apparent that Abbott and Hunt, and that wood louse Ian Macfarlane the Resources Minister, could see that the days of coal were rapidly coming to an end.
But did they accept this and move with the times? Did they make a smooth transition to a clean world with clean energy?
Did they bollocks.
They did the freakin' opposite.
They made a decision behind closed doors that the end was indeed coming so we better mine and sell every bloody molecule of carbon we can find before the global market turns the taps off.
An appallingly destructive and selfish attitude.
So Abbott is gone and not lamented and has been replaced by Mr Smooth Malcolm Turnbull.
Will he be better?
Hard to believe he could be worse.
I have thrown it around in the mind for a while, but just can't conceive of a scenario where he could be worse.
However my politically-astute Facebook friend John Lilley, did express misgivings, saying along the lines of 'Turnbull is a new front man for the same policies, but he's smarter and better able to manipulate'.
The Abbott government's plan is to see that
emissions like these from Hazelwood in  Victoria continue.
So true John.
However I have some hopes for Turnbull and they run along these lines.
Turnbull, as John says, IS smarter.
And a smart man like Turnbull will have seen that one of the things that made Abbott so unpopular was indeed his policies.
Thus we can have some hope that Turnbull will do some things differently from Tony Abbott.
Having said that, the signs aren't good in the environment sphere.
Turnbull has kept that utter fuckstick, Greg Hunt, as Environment minister.
Now Hunt was the architect of the Abbott government's so-called 'gift to the world' of Direct Action.
This "plan" would see Australia reduce its emissions by 5% on 2005 levels.
I won't bore you with the technicals, but to say this "plan" is a load of shit is if anything understating the bloody uselessness of the thing.
It will cost a fortune, won't work, and is simply a facade to pretend Australia is doing something about global warming.
Really this bloody plan is just in place to allow Australia to go on digging up bloody coal and selling it without interference from the world.
However divine retribution is coming for Australia in Paris.
The next climate change meeting is to be held there later this year, and Hunt will be showing his stupid embarrassing face there representing Australia.
He, and the now Turnbull government are gonna be mauled by the other countries there who are actually doing something about global warming.
And I can assure you I will be sitting up late to see Hunt get his comeuppance live.
So we'll wait and see how Turnbull goes, but those who care for the environment would be well advised to stay on the ramparts, on active watch, to ensure there is no continuation of the Abbott shitbaggery.

My anger management therapy is really pissing me off

Elsewhere, you may have seen this sentiment on a t-shirt or a cartoon:
Well I had my own version of that in the past week, when first my therapist, then my doctor, really hacked me off.
So the story goes like this.
I have been seeing a new therapist for my, sadly many, psychological issues.
He's been okay, but twice now he's made me quite angry, not maliciously, but by stumbling into an area of the inside of my head, that all are advised to stay well away from.
Both times the problem arose because he was (in my opinion) telling me how to think.
Now you can say what you like about me, but one thing I am is intelligent.
This is not meant to bragging in any fashion, it is simply the case.
Like most intelligent people, I have trouble fitting into societal thought norms.
Indeed, any who have read some or all of the 100,000 words I have put down in this blog can see I don't think much as normal, or I'm an utter whack-job to out it another way.
Anyway, I really don't like being told how to think, actually I don't think anyone does.
However, the point is, I particularly don't like being told I must use this or that psychological technique, and that will "cure" me of my psychological problems.
Indeed if I hear one more person say 'mindfulness' to me, there will be murder done.
So I left my last session with the therapist quite angry and getting angrier with every pedal stroke as I rode away.
After some thought, I decided that I was going to quit therapy. Clearly if I was going to therapy to learn to not be so angry, and the therapy was making me angry, then, just as clearly, we had a problem here.
At first I was just going to email my therapist and say it's all over, but then I realised, like Jerry and Elaine had discussed in Seinfeld, that I had to do a face to face breakup. I owed my therapist that, he was a good guy at the end of the day.
I just felt he was a little out of his depth with a nutter like me.

So I checked my files and realised I had run out of referrals.
To see a clinical psychologist on Medicare, you have to get a referral from your GP.
These come in blocks of six, and sure enough, the last session when I left angry was my sixth, and so, I had to go through the mill of seeing my doctor to get a new six-block referral to allow me to go back and say I was quitting therapy.
Such is life on the National health.
So I called my doctor's surgery and made an appointment.
Now my doctor, Mark, is a good guy, but a little disorganised.
However recently he succumbed to a debilitating neck injury, and has been off work for a long time, more than a year or so.
Thus I haven't been seeing him, but instead a rotating series of locums.
This has been okay in general, indeed the most recent locum, Brad, was as nutty as me, and so we got along like a house on fire.
Now one thing about going to the doctor at Mark's surgery was that they are always running late.
Now I can say always because, the first time I went there, the appointment was for two o'clock in the afternoon.
I was seen an hour late that day, so I quickly twigged that the better thing to do was to get the earliest possible appointment, and thus hope for that at least being on time.
So the next time I went there, I made an appointment for 8.30 in the morning.
And I was still seen 45 minutes late.
As I sat in the waiting room I wondered how can things be running late when the damn joint has only just opened.
However, the reason, I feel, that things are often behind, is that Mark is a good doctor, and thus many want to see him, since I don't have to go often, I could grant a little waiting time, as there were many who needed Mark's help.
So needing my referral I called up the surgery. When they answered I asked for an appointment, and the receptionist replied: 'Who do you normally see?'
I responded; 'I'm seeing Brad at the moment.'
She then replied: 'Oh, Brad's on leave till November, so do you mind seeing someone else?'
I replied: 'no, not at all, everyone I've seen there has been fine.'
'Okay,' she then said, 'I'll book you in with David, on Thursday.'
I said 'fine, and could I have the earliest appointment on Thursday please?'
She the checked her schedule and said: 'the earliest appointment is at 10.30, would that be okay?'
'Oh well,' I thought to myself, 'not brilliant, but that'll do'.
So I agreed to 10.30 on Thursday and then rang off.
Thursday came and I got round to the surgery ten minutes early, at 10.20.
I presented myself to the reception desk and said who I was, and the receptionist said: 'Thanks Lachlan, take a seat, David won't be long.'
So I sat in the waiting room, pulled out my phone and was idly scanning my facebook page to see what was going on, when a voice said: 'Lachlan?'
I looked up and it was the new doctor, he said: 'come on in.'
I quickly checked my phone and saw it was only 10.24, the first time ever I had been seen at that surgery early.
Spirits uplifted at this tiny little win for the day, I followed him into the surgery.
Well that spirit uplift disappeared almost immediately.
He asked me what I was after, and I said: 'I need a new referral to see my therapist.'
He nodded, and asked me why I was seeing a therapist, and was it effective.
Well I didn't really want to get into it too deeply, I simply wanted the form, so I replied: 'well I had a pretty terrible childhood, with angry abusive parents, and I'm slowly working through my anger at my parents with my therapist.'
Well then this doctor, gets on his high horse and starts telling me how to think.
I couldn't believe it.
I was only here for the damn form, I hadn't asked for a diagnosis.
So he launches in: 'you see Lachlan, only you are making yourself angry, you are choosing to be angry at your parents.'
I was gobsmacked.
'You don't know me.' I screamed silently within.
He went on: 'You see you don't really need to see a therapist, if you just choose not be angry anymore.'
He then continued in this vein for some time, making me angrier and angrier by the second.
I wanted to argue, in fact I wanted to tell him to shut the fuck up, but I was beholden to him as I needed the form to see my therapist.
So I sat there fuming while he grandiloquently went on with a simple formula for solving all my psychological issues.
My previous therapist had taken a year (15 odd hour long sessions) before she even began working with me directing my mind along new paths away from anger.
It was very effective, and she was, and is, a skilled therapist who understood how delicate the balance of the mind is.
My new therapist was making me angry by pushing me in new directions after only six sessions or so.
But even he was topped by this fucking poor excuse for a doctor who had the arrogance to try to tell me how to solve my problems after only knowing me for three minutes.
Eventually I got the form, and a new prescription for my anti-depressants, and boy would they now be working overtime, and then made my escape.
I think you'll understand here. Telling anyone they are choosing to be angry is a very, very dangerous and patronising thing to do.
Think back to the last time  you were really angry.
It is a whole-of body, vastly unpleasant experience.
The idea that you can suddenly switch it off, like flicking a light switch, is impossible for so many of us.
Maybe the Dalai Lama can do it, but for us mere mortals, consciously switching off red-raw anger is hardly possible, and if it is to be done, it can take days weeks or months.
So in the end I think you can all see the damn irony, if that's what it is, here.
I went to therapy to not be as angry any more.
I needed a form to see my therapist to break it off with him because he was making me angry.
I went to get the form from the doctor who made me angrier than that.
Therapists and doctors are supposed to make you feel better, but I'm now in the position where I have decided not to see my therapist, and this doctor, ever again.
And the reason is it's just no good for my health.

PS: In a funny way, the doctor was quite effective.
After thirty seconds of listening to him, I had forgotten my parents and now I was angry beyond measure at him.
PPS: I think now you can see why he was the only doctor to ever see me early at that surgery.
If all the other patients experience was like mine, he only ever sees people once, so has a thin caseload and can be on time.

As the comedic baddie in Johnny Dangerously constantly said people had done things to him 'once'.
Meaning that anyone who treated him badly got dealt with before there was a second time.

So I can paraphrase and say: 'that doctor made me angry...., ONCE'.
And I only ever saw that doctor, ONCE.

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