Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bark: Climb! Climb!

Wow. I've been so out of it lately that it wasn't until after I posted my Raspberry Pi post that I noticed that I haven't blogged once for the entire year up to this point.

Suffice to say, there are REASONS, mainly due to some pretty nasty mental health issues, but the good news is that I'm starting to see some light at the top of The Pit, and while the walls might still be tall, slippery and vertiginous, at least I'm making some progress. Today was actually a great day, as work has finally come through with providing me with some (but not all - not by a long shot) of the resources I need to do my job properly and with something approaching satisfaction and reward. This is doubly good news, because it means that I've liberated four of the Raspberry Pis I had to buy for the school myself to be able to do any kind of computing programme, meaning that I can use them for my own projects, including a Google AI assistant, a wildlife camera trap and a 'hunter-killer' motion-sensing robot rover.

The Picademy I attended last year was definitely one of the few highlights of 2016 (otherwise a pretty fecking dire year), and I'm really feeling motivated to give something back to the RPi community. So it's good to have the time and the opportunity to develop and share resources for them. I'm even giving thought to trying to crowd-fund setting up an educational charity/consultancy to promote coding skills in primary and secondary schools, since I'm becoming less and less enamoured with working within the mainstream education sector, I'd quite like to strike out on my own if it ever becomes financially viable (the mortgage doesn't pay itself, unfortunately...)

But I am starting to feel a bit more like myself again, and as well as the Raspberry Pi stuff, I've got no less than two writing projects on the go (one of which should be finished and serialised here before the end of the year), and I've even had the opportunity to develop a Creative Writing curriculum for my school. Last week I was working with a student who (like me) has issues with depression, and we wrote poems on the topic.

Poetry isn't a writing form I'm very well versed in (forgive the deliberately terrible pun, please), but I was quite pleased with this, given that I wrote it in half an hour during a break for lunch. It might go some way to explaining why I haven't been posting much around here lately...

The Pit

Churchill imagined his depression as a black dog,
But mine is more like a pit.
Dark and deep, with sides so steep, and murky like dense fog.
I think I'll stay down here for a bit.

It's safe and warm.
A place of despairing calm.
Take cover here until nicer thoughts can form.
In here, nothing can do you harm.

My motivation is low.
It's too much effort to even get out of bed.
My thoughts fly! - and then slow,
And I really should go - but The Pit still needs to be fed.

I form a shield with my duvet cover
To armour myself against the world
And the doom-laded impulses I need to smother,
But in my mind the surrender flag has unfurled.

Staying here does more harm than good.
Body and mind recede from the light
And the darkness covers me in a flood.
Drowning in self-inflicted sorrow, I won't see tomorrow, unless I rise up and fight.

Make my way back up to the top,
It's the only option I've got... Climb!
Ignore all the slips and the falls - I can't ever stop.
Climb! Climb!
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