All posts by Craig

Unfortunately I had to cease work in April 2017 due to a chronic illness. I am an experienced Senior Manager with roles including sales management, national management, marketing, purchasing, customer service, forecasting and budgeting. This experience was obtained across diverse industries including; IT, consumer electronics, retail, manufacturing, wholesale, construction, education, finance, market research, electronic components and telecommunications. My main areas of interest were in leadership, establishing high-performance teams, managing multiple tasks simultaneously, business development, startups and mentoring. I was able to make immediate impacts in my roles. Examples include BELL-IRH (Sydney) where I was promoted from internal sales to National Product Manager within six months with no prior experience in the electronics industry, and Pacific Datacom (Hagemeyer) where I was promoted from State Manager to Regional Manager (covering three States) after just three months. I started several diverse businesses of my own and as an exercise with my business students. My enjoyment in assisting others included volunteer mentoring and judging Startup pitches for many local programs and involvement in Committees (including at Board level). I have lectured and tutored at University level in Business. I also taught my own courses in Sales and Sales Management and published two books. My qualifications include; a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor, Registered Migration Agent (expired), Finance, Business, Digital Marketing and Training. I was a guest speaker in Business Communication for Philadelphia University. To keep my brain active I read as much as possible, when my dizziness allows.

Noise – some I can handle more than others


If my wife takes me to a cafe, for my one outing a week (two if I’m lucky), I find I can handle noise far better than I can from a large family gathering…?

I finally worked out why this is. At a family gathering I feel obligated to join in conversations, smile, be animated to a certain extent and be aware all the time of what is around me. I also need to answer the question “How are you? Any better?” which although well meaning and asked out of genuine concern, requires a response every time. Basically my condition has remained unchanged for two and a half years and I wish they would actually read this blog to keep up on how I feel. Far easier for all concerned.

At a family gathering, of all the most important people in the world to me and whom I love dearly, I feel the need to be polite, to appear well, to put on an act for them. This drains me so much it takes days to recover from.

At a cafe it’s just my wife I need to listen to and converse with. Far less concentration required and if I start to slouch she knows my energy is gone, hurries up and gets me out of there. So if it is noisy it is extraneous noise and doesn’t apply to me and can therefore be immediately ignored. With family I feel I have to be aware of what is going on around me or I will appear rude. My problem I know but it is the way I feel.

Also at a family gathering you cannot, or at least I can’t, leave mid-sentence or without saying goodbye to everyone. I would feel incredibly rude and yet for my well-being this is exactly what I should do.

All this boils down to me not being able to be as I need to with family because I love them so much and know they love me in return. They would understand, I am certain, if I suddenly got up and left or just shut down and retreated from all conversations, but I cannot bring myself to do this, so suffer in silence.

My own fault, but there it is and I cannot change it.

So when I say no to going to a large family get together yet enter a noisy coffee shop do not judge me. You know not what I am suffering, or more accurately making myself suffer.

But then who doesn’t put on a face for family and want to show them how much they mean to you, that their support is everything to you and keeps you going through the dark days?

And so I can stand noise in a coffee shop for maybe twenty to thirty minutes but not go to see a large family group as it immediately drains me for days.

Thanks illness, another fine mess you have gotten me into!

At least my guilt is happy, as it is very well fed.

No more than 500 steps for 2.5 years


For myself, and many of my fellow chronic illness sufferers, not being able to walk more than five hundred steps in a day is normal.

For me I have not done so, without serious repercussions, for the last two and a half years now.

Think about that for a moment.

How many steps is it from your bed to the bathroom and back? To the kitchen? How many trips a day does this allow you?

Yes a shower counts as well, as does walking to the living room to watch television or (if we’re extremely lucky) going outside to sit in the sun.

It is like permanently wearing a restrictive bracelet. If we walk more than 500 steps our pain from the Fibromyalgia expands exponentially. Our dizziness, skin sensitivity, headaches, body pain etc etc etc from ME/CFS increase as well.

It is like being in jail, except an inmate is allowed to walk further in a day.

So, very little exercise. In fact no exercise at all or our symptoms explode, no matter what some old fashioned idiot ‘professionals’ might think. We lump them together with those that say everything we suffer is ‘all in our mind’.

How we wish they could experience our lives for just a week, even a day!

So the next time you think it is a long walk to the shops, or around your garden, think of us who would give anything to do what you are doing, without our pain.

Greed


Why do we desire more than we need?

A car is a car, yet some must have the most expensive to validate their existence. Such cars would not be made if we did not, as individuals, crave attention or simply desired ‘the best’.

Do we, in effect, just want the best we can buy or is it the status that our greed desires? Transport provides the same function, with various degrees of comfort, until more comfort is unnecessarily luxurious. Then it becomes greed, or simply the desire to possess the best.

The best. This also relates to homes, jobs, clothes, food, all items we purchase. If we were to remove the top end of luxury and place that monetary value into the hands of the almost four billion poor we would progress as a society.

For some, progress as an individual is more valuable.

Who notices the luxury more than the owner? If it is not recognised by anyone else then its desirability reduces. What does this say about us? Do we truly pursue ‘quality’ as some philosophers state and does this intrude into personal space, or is our desire for art all encompassing.

Perhaps we require recognition for our efforts, inheritance or luck to place us above others in our world view.

Unfortunately the ‘others’, apart from a very brief moment of recognition, do not desire the same level of luxury as a permanent quality. Therefore the money used to impress is mostly wasted.

Purchase luxury for your sake, judge it for yourself, and only purchase it if your life is further fulfilled by its presence.

If luxury has no more meaning for you, assist those who will never experience it to provide them with the basics of life to achieve true fulfilment.

What to do all day??


Some people ask this when they are at ‘work’, or in hospital, or sick at home.

The more difficult the answer becomes relates to how much time you have to ‘kill’. But isn’t that the worst thing we could ever do, kill time?

How many people are there, right now, who would give anything for more time?

If we added all the time wasting activities we indulged in as a race just how much time are we wasting? Probably enough time to put another man on the moon (or mars). Or write the next ‘once in a generation’ novel.

So why would we ever want time to go quickly? Well if you’re in pain the answer is an easy one, but for the rest it is not so simple. Even if bored beyond belief you can use time to accomplish something… anything!

Do yourself a favour and next time you want time to speed up, slow down and think about what your goals and dreams are and could you actually spend time on those instead? Even if it is in the form of some preliminary investigation for a few minutes? I assure you time will move more quickly if you do.

No more time wasting. On your deathbed you will regret it, I promise you!

Corruption exists where power exists


To say otherwise is naivety in the extreme.

Of course there are people who refuse to give in and shine like beacons, but unfortunately they are far too few.

If you want something done, and have enough money, then it is done. Simple.

Why are we so surprised when corruption is ‘uncovered’? Banking Royal Commissions, investigations into top legal firms, political donations, misuse of public money, misuse of public credit cards…it is announced in the news almost daily yet the shock value never gets old.

Perhaps it is because we want, so desperately, to believe that we have the same chance as the very rich in life, that we can get by on our merit alone. Some indeed can, and do, but it is more because of luck and timing than their good intentions.

Corruption is everywhere, at every level of our society. Fortunately it is nowhere near as bad as other countries, such as India or China, but it is there. Just below the surface, ready to emerge for the right amount of money or power.

So why are we surprised when it is exposed? Is it just jealousy that we do not have the money required to bribe someone and make our own lives easier? Possibly.

Or possibly it is because we, the un-rich, cling to this notion of a Fair Go. We struggle so much, through so much and somehow over so much in life we simply cannot stand the thought of someone using a chequebook to accomplish what it takes a pound of flesh for us to do the same.

So when it is revealed as being so easy for others, just the stroke of a pen, we recoil in horror once again. Even though we all hear stories, sometimes witness it firsthand, we strive to believe people are good.

Unfortunately all are not, and the wealthier they are the more they can ‘accomplish’.

Why is life so much easier when you have a lot of money? When you answer that question truthfully you will realise why it should not shock you anymore.

GIFs: How I hate them!


Yes I know, not liking one of the largest and latest crazes is not great for a writer’s popularity, but then they call them crazes for a reason, don’t they?

Because they are followed by people who are crazy.

And this is not just a recent ‘thing’, or an attempt to be different or to create a headline. I genuinely hate GIFs!

Why?

They distract me from what I am reading. They seem to have no point other than attempt to assist the writer to make a point – which if they need help doing then they are not a good writer to begin with.

My opinion.

What purpose do they serve? To show how clever someone is for remembering every second of every Seinfeld episode? Or that you can take any video footage and ruin it by shortening it to a few seconds of ever repeating, distracting, meaningless rubbish?

To me, and I realise I could be in the minority here, it shows nothing but someone with time to waste who wants to spend it by wasting my time.

And I can’t switch them off!! I can stop videos playing as I scroll through the leftovers of humanity but when I get to a GIF….bang! No escape!

Call me old fashioned by how can you possibly say something meaningful in several seconds of repeated video of people making funny faces?

That old maxim comes to mind – Get a life!

And yes, for writing this you can say exactly the same about me.

Status


For centuries mankind has striven, fought, argued and made alliances for status.

The wealthy measure their status by what they own, what label it has, how many they possess and if it is the latest available. Unfortunately they are completely unaware the non-wealthy never judge them in these terms, but by what they do with their money other than buying goods the non-wealthy would never be able to afford.

The wealthy care not about what their money does other than what it purchases for them, hence the invisible disconnect that feeds large businesses and governments but accomplishes little else.

Status is measured differently by various sections of society. For some it is your number of good deeds, for others your willingness to assist people at your own expense. Money itself was largely unimportant to them, simply representing a medium of exchange so its measurement of itself is largely ignored. In particular as money began to be spoken of in larger and larger numbers it lost all meaning.

For most people if they possessed enough of this medium to afford a good home, pay bills and still have enough to enjoy simple pleasures they are happy. If they have enough to enjoy ample pleasures their enjoyment rises until the choices of which pleasures to partake in become too many and stress begins.

Thus there is a fine line for the majority of the population. Too little or too much induces stress. This is evidenced by the fact many who become wealthy overnight revert to their previous state of comparative poverty within a year.

Those with ample wealth live in their separate world far removed from ninety-five percent of the population and therefore their lives, except to them, matter little. They purchase only the most expensive items that none of the ninety-five percent produce, further widening the gap of meaningfulness.

Those with money simply sitting in banks as ones and zeroes take comfort in the knowledge it is available if required, yet those with enormous wealth laying idle satisfy no-one except the banking institutions.

To the other ninety-five percent their definition of status carries more importance. If you do not have enough you work endlessly to acquire it, to earn it or perhaps resort to fighting to acquire it.

It then becomes something to brag about to those who do not have it, a meaningless conversation that interests no-one. Hard work is being done by everyone and yet luck or inheritance are the main causes a few acquire wealth above others.

Some are more intelligent and deserve their wealth, yet many also tend to concentrate on saving lives with inventions and products aimed at poorer markets, reducing their wealth yet raising their personal status if not their societal one.

Thus status becomes a personal choice around values. Money is a means to an end but not the end itself, contrary to the belief of the five percent.

Status is not just the providence of individuals. Collectives including organisations and governments also desire it above all else and control the resources to commit crimes or declare war to gain it. Often stealing and war mean the same to such governments, their justification being the protection of their citizens when their citizens know little of their real motives, making the argument vacuous. As were many of the governments, who desire to be in the five percent and who are mainly hollow and short sighted.

Your value to those around you, your contribution to your immediate societal collective weighs far more than any gold bullion.

As money bares so little resemblance to one’s real worth, your work and your knowledge are all, valued beyond all else as there is nothing else. Being judged as the person you are seems foreign yet forms the true foundation of our society.

Wealth is who you are and what you contribute to others. Is there really any other way of measuring true status?

Trying to survive the night


I am not sure if it is my ME, Fibromyalgia or CFS (or something else) but almost every morning now I wake up with a pounding migraine.

For example, until this morning I woke up with what I thought was the worst headache I’ve ever had, again, five nights in a row. In my teens I had migraines that were usually over one eye and pierced through me like a hot poker, but now my entire head pounds with the same intensity.

It usually takes ten hours or so to get rid of them, which is exhausting and quite debilitating. So my routine for the previous five nights was wake up between 1am and 4am with this whole head pounding migraine, try to get to the fridge for the packs of frozen beans (or wake up my poor suffering wife to get them for me), take a rizatriptan and a valium and remain awake and wait for the headache to go. If I fall back asleep the headache returns to its full-on state. No, I have no idea why.

Sometimes the first dose of tablets kills it, but more often than not it reduces it by perhaps fifty percent leaving me with the choice of another dose or cope.

The rizatriptan only comes in four tablets per script so I am reluctant to take more than one, but sometimes the pain dictates that I have no choice.

I can try to take another valium but although this will help my headache it almost always will put me to sleep as well. When I sleep with the remains of a headache I always wake up with it worse again, most often the migraine has returned. So a bit of Catch 22 there, just for fun.

Last night I woke at 12.30am with the beginnings of a headache, my queue to stay awake until it goes. With CFS staying awake is incredibly counterintuitive but unless I want my headache to become worse, I must. So I stayed awake fighting the headache until about 3am. I then woke at 5am and the beginnings of one was still there so I took a valium. Then the fight to stay awake began, which this time I managed to win until 7.30am when my headache finally went. I was then able to sleep until 9.30am.

All up 5-6 hours sleep, not enough for a normal person let alone one with CFS who fights to stay awake all day.

However it is far better than normal, when I often fail to stay awake and fall asleep for several hours and wake up with a migraine. The frozen beans then come into play as does more medication.

When my chronic illness first began I would have two or three of these headaches per week. Now I am lucky to have one or two mornings without one.

So every night when I go to bed it is with severe trepidation as I know what sort of night I am going to have. The only unknown is how bad will the headache be and can I stop it from becoming a migraine that makes me want to chop my head off.

How did you sleep? Personally I’d prefer to never sleep again.

“Dizzy” – by Tommy Roe


A great song, I used to love it.

Used to.

That is until the inside of my head has impersonated a spinning top for the last nine weeks or so, without stopping for one microsecond.

I’ve had dizziness before with my illnesses (Fibromyalgia, ME and CFS) but it has always just come and gone, sometimes violently. This time it’s a constant whirring, with someone controlling the speed remotely. One moment it is a reasonable one or two out of ten (on the dizziness scale) then suddenly it’s up to seven or eight, with accompanying nausea and a feeling of having absolutely no control, over anything.

It’s a bit like being in a spinning, plummeting airplane. Or at least that is how it feels and how my imagination pictures it to be.

I’ve given up all drugs except my painkillers, which I have also reduced by two thirds in the hope of the dizziness stopping. I thought it was a side effect, as it started when I began a new drug. Now I just have more pain…and dizziness.

Maybe it’s not though, and that scares me more than anything. What if it is here to stay? I’ve barely maintained my sanity for nine weeks, I have no idea how I would survive nine months!! Oh please god no!

So now I hate this song, yet cannot get it out of my head. Much like my dizziness.