Photos and coping

It’s been a rough week.  There’s so much happening at work that it’s just chaos.  Work is usually our anchor – it forces us to get out of the house and interact with people.  But there have been so many changes that the anchor sort of got cut free for a few days.  We walked out on a meeting on Thursday – something we’ve NEVER done before (no matter how much we’ve wanted to).  Part of the changes, are a renovation to the office space, which will mean the area being reduced by 30m sq.  The flow on effect is that three people in our office are having to be relocated elsewhere in the organisation and another three people are going to have to be shifted from where they currently sit.  Ordinarily, we would have jumped at the chance to go to another office area, but the new office space is open plan with no walls behind the work station.  We HAVE to have our back to a wall, doesn’t matter where we are, we just do.  But everyone else in the office is suggesting that we move.  Our team leader and the manager know that we have to have a wall behind us, but the manager made a point out of talking about us during the meeting and using us as an example as to why some people can’t work in every office space.  That was the last straw, we had to get up and leave.  She’s a really nice person, but she’s not a good manager.

As a further blow, our cynical friend is one of the people moving out of the office.  She needs to do this in order to stay calm while her husband deteriorates from the cancer.  So the only person we talk to and laugh with is leaving the office.

All of this lead up to a fairly intense bout of suicidal intent.  We contacted (via email) the woman’s programme we go to and Liz detailing what was happening.  The interaction with Liz was interesting, it got to the point where we knew that if we didn’t head her off, we’d be sent up the the hospital for a risk assessment…

To Liz:
… shouldn’t have contacted you or anyone, it’s just attention seeking.  It will be fine, at work now and then go home and forget everything for awhile.

Liz’s response:
I have found that talking about things, hard stuff, etc does help.  If it had not done so, I don’t know where I would be today.

Are you attention seeking?  Doesn’t sound like attention seeking from where I sit.  Although saying it is, will be another way that you avoid talking / dealing with it, aye?  Of course talking about hard stuff can seem to make things worse. Do they get worse before they get better?  Sometimes it works that way.  Sometimes there can be immediate clarity and balance.  I would like you to know that I am available to talk about this situation when you are ready to.

She saw through our rubbish, avoidance etc.  Will be an interesting session tomorrow…

As for our photos… we’ve realised by taking photos that our focus of the world is very narrow.  We’re not comfortable with the expanse of a landscape and the idea of taking photos of people is absolutely terrifying.  We tried taking photos of the mother while she was here, but immediately dissociated.  Yesterday we went for a walk and tried to take some photos of the surrounding landscape (managed a couple – try 1 & try 2), but we much prefer the narrow focus (e.g. dew drop).  I wonder if this is about our style of photography, or being caught up in PTSD and dissociative issues?


12 Responses to “Photos and coping”

  1. 1 lostshadowchild July 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    This was really a rough week for you :(
    Hope you are a little better today and that you find a solution at work. I know many of problems you have written. The need of a wall in the back (I can’t endure it, if someone stands behind me) and even what you’re writing on making of photos. I have pictures from edinbourgh without any people on it. I can’t photograph people too. That’s really interesting that you have the same experience
    btw. the picture of the dew drop is incredible and so beautiful
    warm safe hugs if ok (((()))

    • 2 castorgirl July 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

      It’s amazing how the little things like needing to have our back to a wall are so common amongst survivors. It makes sense, as it’s tied to safety, but it still helps to know that it’s not us trying to look for attention or being difficult for the sake of it.
      Warm safe hugs are always appreciated :)
      (((warm safe hugs back))) only if wanted
      Take care :)

  2. 3 Ivory July 6, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Wow, you are really up against the wall – and not in a good way. I hope your boss figures out a way to get you seated where you can feel safe.

    Change is very hard for me, I can’t even imagine what you are going thru right now with all the changes in your office.

    All of the pics you took are wonderful! Makes me want to grab my camera and go “hunting” for the perfect shot.

    • 4 castorgirl July 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

      It’s been agreed that we don’t have to move, but the internal politics of the office mean that there is quite a bit of resentment that we’ve been spared the move.

      We can handle change, as long as we have some control over it :) Change that is forced on us and is beyond our control causes chaos. Not that we’re control freaks or anything :)

      I’d love to see your photos if you do want to share them :)

      Take care…
      B & Sophie :)

  3. 5 jumpinginpuddles July 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    many safe happy thoughts being sent your way from us

  4. 7 kerro July 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    So sorry you had a tough week. It is good in a way, though, that you have someone who understands your need to have a wall. I sort of have someone at my work who tries to understand. He never will, but he tries to. This in itself is good.

    Hang in there, hope this week is better for you.

    • 8 castorgirl July 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      In some ways it’s good that people don’t understand the need to have the wall behind them – probably means they haven’t been hurt. But sympathy or an attempt to understand the need in others is important, so it’s good you have that. It’s all about accepting that people are different and have different needs and issues.

      Take care…

  5. 9 David July 7, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I’m so impressed that you reached out to Liz and to your group … and also glad that you’re able to recognize that Liz had a solid and caring response. That seems like a leap forward, to me.

    I hate, hate, hate, hate space-based shakeups or rearrangements … I’m so lucky to be able to work from home. Working in an office was torture, when I did it, due to the lack of control over my environment. It’s definitely not just you.

    Much love,

    • 10 castorgirl July 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, Liz’s response was encouraging. She saw through the avoidance and layering which was aimed at protection, but in a negative way.

      You should see the office at the moment – absolute chaos. There’s been movers and computer technicians in all morning trying to sort out what’s going where. I’d love to work from home, but that would mean that we’d never leave the house.

      Take care…

  6. 11 mindparts July 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Well, first of all, congratulations for keeping committed to taking pictures. I think you can find healing in it. Perhaps you are most interested in narrow angle images because you are interested to know what makes things tick. That said, though, there is nothing more exciting than finding what makes tick in people. I’ve written on my blog how this is hard to do. But getting there went hand in hand with a leap in healing for me. In order to get good pictures of other people, you have to put yourself out there. This is hard for many of us. I’m not able to do it well all the time, or even do it all the time. Sometimes what I do with landscape images is find a center of interest, something you want to draw the eye to and frame it at the golden thirds. Make it stand out in the frame. The best book you can read, I think, on this is Photography and the Art of Seeing. It will teach you as much about yourself as it will how to make great images. Good luck! Paul

    • 12 castorgirl July 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks for the tip about the book – I’ve ordered it through work.

      The problem with landscapes and portraits is that there is massive panic as soon as I go to look through the viewfinder. Just the thought of taking a photo of a large space is scary, let alone trying to compose it. With portraits, I know it’s about being present and interacting with people – something I’m not good at unless Sophie is very present.

      The one thing that does fascinate each of us is the colours in the photos. It’s becoming obvious that each of us view colours in quite different ways. The editing done afterwards can become an interesting exercise if there is a switch part way through – colours will be softened or suddenly become more vibrant (especially the greens).

      We’re still taking baby steps with photography and we’re trying not to make it into something we have to do perfectly, or even well. Anything we upload to Flickr is there not because it’s good, but because one of us took it. So it’s also about validation and acceptance that some of us see the world differently. That doesn’t mean that some of us (W and M in particular) do have a desire to take better photographs.

      Take care :)

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