15. Uphill against the wind
My psychiatrist hinted that I should consider going on a pension. He did not think there would be a problem on his part. Having only just turned 50 I had other ideas. People often guessed my age as years younger. No, there was plenty of life left in me.
Instead of lying down I tried to restore old relationships and rework some inventions. My active brain was forever coming up with ideas. Driving Plus Motor School was in its embryo stage. The idea of colour coding speed limits by painting every tenth centre line a different colour (using traffic lights colours) would not leave my mind. (Details are on my website). I emailed the idea to a female staff member of the MCA, my ex-employer. She was fairly high up in the organization. Her female brain may understand the idea better; many males could not picture it.
I experienced first hand how a certain element was still working against me. The email with the suggestion was intercepted by the Public Relations officer of the MCA. It was forwarded to my old boss. He pressed the reply button to answer it. So I could read all the previous comments: “I don’t intent to answer it. Poor old Dieter got confused again…”
It was true; I had mixed up the names of the two staff members, but resented the lack of respect shown. I replied: “I may be old and poor, but still expect to be treated with respect”. I was hoping this would cause a few red faces.
The organization dismissed my idea, saying it had come up in conferences before and thought too difficult for motorists to remember colours. I had doubts if my idea of using traffic light colours had been fully understood. What was there to remember: green is 70, amber 80 and red 90? How dumb do they think motorists are? Perhaps what mattered here was not the idea itself, but who brought it up. The suggestion itself then becomes irrelevant. A sure way of stunting progress.
My website developed further. A driving school in Melbourne paid me 20 dollars for every new student I referred, giving me a small extra income stream. Having a generic name like driving-school.com.au enabled other driving schools to use the same web address to gain clients. All they needed to do was use www.driving-school/their name. My partner in Melbourne would find out later that being friends with me would not be such a good idea.
Many times things went wrong with my website. I had to get my Internet Service Provider to repair it. My knowledge was very limited and my finances even more so. I also suspected that my ISP was under pressure from an outside authority to curtail my activities. Was this the mental illness rearing his ugly head again?
If I indeed was on a State Government register of state enemies my ISP possibly had no say in who reads my emails or controls my web activities. When I applied for a mobile telephone I suspected that I was singled out for special treatment: I sat in the mobile phone shop for over an hour, just to arrange a mobile phone deal. It took a long time just to agree on a special number. Finally I was assured to be on air within 12 hours. It took 3 days. The number we had agreed on was not available. Instead I was given a “golden number” worth $ 200. I did not complain but thought afterwards that this number is perhaps being tapped into. The extra time was needed to arrange the technicalities for surveillance, so I thought.
I had hoped to be finished with mental illness, but another depression gripped me. This one was even more severe than the first. Again this feeling of hopelessness, uselessness and fear of the future engulfed me. Productivity stopped. Normally I am a rather humourous person, but I could not even laugh. Stories on television about war or suicide bombings affected me badly. I felt helpless, yet was overwhelmed with a strong desire to save the world.
To compound my paranoia I later picked up a comment during the TV News made in parliament by an independent Member of Parliament, MP Peter Lewis. He shouted across the room to some government members: “If you have murdered it does not matter if it’s ten weeks ago or ten years. If you have murdered, you have murdered." Who has murdered? What made him shout such strong words?
Why did I pick up these comments and blow them up and let them torment my mind? What illness is this that I suffer from?
It happened so often, I would hear a snippet of a sentence on TV, Radio or read it in the press and my mind would create a complete thought that fits into an enormous story in my brain. This is the struggle any mental patient has; to avoid complex linking and separating fantasy from fact.
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves