Waking up from a deep sleep


Looking ahead – including a series of activities and events that may interest you

I’ve spent much of the past week in bed asleep…like a tree. And crikey I’ve needed it. Ditto the social media breaks too. It strangely feels healthier not to be online all the time – even though some addictive tendencies are hard to break. Little things like having a separate alarm clock so my phone can charge in another room overnight seem to be the order of the day. It breaks the temptation of leaning over at 2am to see who has tweeted what, even though my Twitter analytics (I use SocialBro) tells me that hardly anyone is around at that time – sensible people!

It’s not that I didn’t recognise the addictive tendencies of social media and always being ‘connected’ – I blogged about it last year. I guess that along with the other triggers, this was my mind’s way of saying “I need a break”. Yet at the same time social media world is a bit like my playground – only virtual rather than face-to-face. It’s where I come to ‘meet’ people and is the oil that lubricates the engine that are my working and social lives. Thus bringing into question a suitable ‘work life’ balance when the boundaries between all of them are so blurred.

For me, the lines are blurred – very blurred. The gatherings I go to both nourish my professional interests as well as strengthening the social bonds I have with friends I’ve made. It’s not like when I was working for a bank before I went to university where people had very separate compartmentalised lives – i.e. they did not socialise outside of work. That sort of working suits some people, but it doesn’t suit me.

Hasn’t this crisis left you unable to work?

I clearly wasn’t ‘functioning’ as well as I’d have wanted in the run up to the crisis. Over the past week the new medication knocked me out and left me sleeping through the night (which was a huge achievement given my lack of sleep of prior to that) and through much of the day too.

At the same time I think my GP may have intervened just in time. Crises affect different people in different ways – and in different intensities. My own ignorance & lack of awareness made me picture being taken away in a straight-jacket for my own safety. It wasn’t a “losing control of rational thought” crisis – more a “losing control of my emotions” crisis – one where telling yourself over and over again that you don’t need to & shouldn’t be feeling this way (& listing all the reasons) have zero impact. When the non-medicinal techniques that are available self-help style are not working, that’s the point where I felt I needed to call in the cavalry.

So here I am, on Easter Sunday, reasonably confident that I’ll be able to get through my commitments this week – in particular on Thursday 12 April at Whitehall Teacamp where I will be doing a short talk on social media guidance for civil servants and public servants too. It’s open to anyone so if you want to meet Puffles (and myself) feel free to join us. (Would love to see some local government and emergency services types coming along too). To get a flavour of some of the things I’m going to touch upon, please see my earlier blogpost – and also the comments stream including those by Emer Coleman of Cabinet Office/GDS. Ditto on DCLG’s Enquiry Week. I will be writing up a separate commentary on this so no one need worry about death by powerpoint.

Having productive and focused things to work on for me is part of the recovery process. Just the fact of having a deadline to work towards works wonders for a serial procrastinator like me. Recent days have meant that I need to make a few further adjustments in my life on this road to recovery. It’s not taken me out of the workplace by any means.

On these social gatherings…pub lunch dates

On paper, you could say it’s nothing major but it’s part of both my recovery process and part of building a stronger community of friends. One of the things I’ve loved about the pub lunches is seeing people who’ve tweeted to each other for months meeting up for the first time & getting on like they’d known each other face-to-face for years. Hence I’m looking at another Cambridge one on 15 April, and a London one on 06 May. So if you’re interested in either, please let me know either via Twitter (DM ideally) or in the comments section below. We need to book tables in advance so need to know numbers.

Other stuff too

A few of us are heading to the Arts Theatre in Cambridge to see both Avenue Q and Yes Prime Minister – both of which I wanted to see in London but never got round to. How nice of them to turn up on my doorstep! If interested, as above, leave a comment or send Puffles a tweet. Ditto for those of you who want to join us for the final instalment of Jesterlarf’s comedy club in early May. Four of us went last time. Any more this time?

I’m also going along to SciBarCamb on the weekend of 21 April where I hope to run a workshop similar to the one I delivered for the Open Knowledge Foundation – about getting more scientists involved in policy-making and scrutiny, as well as demystifying various bits of Whitehall.

On the horizon…

I’ve got myself a ticket for the Friday of the Cambridge Folk Festival because it’s in my neighbourhood and one of my favourite bands (Oysterband) is playing – and there is a Ceilidh on the same day too. I’d love to go to The Secret Garden Party which is also happening just outside Cambridge because another of my favourite bands – Caravan Palace – is playing. But at £200 it’s not cheap. Any takers? I don’t really want to go alone. I can’t help but think it’s be cheaper to see them at a different festival buying a day ticket and paying for train and accommodation. But then I wouldn’t get a full festival experience. There’s also the Cambridge Comedy Festival (07-10 July) and the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival too. Hmm…decisions decisions.

So…that’s what I’ve got lined up. What about you? Anything that you think others should know about or that you want company to go along with?


3 thoughts on “Waking up from a deep sleep

  1. Have tweeted you but I’ll say it here as well. It would be good to see you on 15 April. BTW are you a scientist by background? I ask because science policy was the grand passion of my late father.

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