"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Monday, 16 June 2014


Back after an extended break.
I owe you all an apology and an explanation so here goes.
I could blame the wet season making it almost impossible to do anything that does not involve mud. I could say I was too busy with my money grubbing job. I could name any number of reasons for not posting recently but that would just be making excuses. In reality I have been in a rut, my work life has been very hard lately and in hindsight I realise I have been suffering from depression. My wife pointed it out and it suddenly became very clear.
To give some background- I work in a high security prison. I am a custodial correctional officer and for seven years now I have been working on the "coal face" in high security. It is hard to explain just how soul destroying this job can be, nor just how much this will change you as a person. As the saying goes, "I have seen shit you wouldn't believe".
I have seen hatred, violence, desperation and depravity on a scale I once did not believe could exist. I have seen blood, lots of blood. I have seen people do things to themselves and others because they simply don't care anymore, or perhaps never did, with a complete lack of empathy in any form. I have seen so much more. I have been attacked and injured, threatened and at times scared for my life.
Well eventually a job like this will get to you no matter how tough you think you are. It did and I slowly sank down into a deep depression because I simply did not know how to deal with it all.
It was my beautiful wife who brought me to my senses. She always does and please believe me when I say that I could not live without her in my life.
In any case I am feeling much better. I have *finally* managed to get some holiday time from work and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Work by which I mean real work, on something important, (not just labouring to make someone else wealthy) is good for both the body and soul. My muscles hurt, my back is twinging and I have dirt under my nails. I couldn't be happier!


  1. Ulf I have been checking in on you every week for months hence my comment in the last blog. I am sorry to hear of the "episode" you have been going through at work and the long term effects it has been having. Any job potentially can cause depression but your line of work would only be suitable for the toughest of us, and I am sure you are tough, it just can take its toll over time.
    Thanks to our wives who can see us when we are going down. Unfortunately we don't listen sometimes until damage has been done and it does take a fair bit to get out of it.
    Hope your break now can get you back on the right track. Hope your professional help can get you going stronger too. So get to and catch up on all those jobs you have been putting off.

  2. I'm glad you're back and thanks for being open about the challenge you faced. As you know, my lovely husband also has depressive episodes and it is hard to watch a person you love suffer so much. Being open about causes and avenues for treatment (professional or otherwise) really helps. Love Dani

  3. I'm so glad your wife saw what was happening and you are feeling better. I am positive that knowing what is happening is more than half of the solution and a lot of the time that is all it takes to turn things around.

  4. Hope everything is well for you - sending lots of positive thoughts. E.