Sunday, 30 March 2014


In the media, this little abbreviation generally means " Payment Protection Insurance" but not for me….

Until just a few months ago, it meant, "Porridge Performance Index" as I kept a log along with a friend at work of the condition of the breakfast porridge served up in the canteen each day based on our assessment factors of Temperature, Consistency and Taste.  The algorythms used to finalise the days overall porridge quality score became quite complex, but the result was a daily assessment which bizzarly seemed to track the world stock markets quite closely. I had graphs automatically updated each day and even considered publishing the data online but noticed that the stock market falls seemed to be predicted by our PPI sooner than they happened, so in order not to panic the markets, I decided I should not publish the data :-)
There was much amusement to be had when on days of disagreement over scoring, we had to consult the international porridge standards agency, "Offpot".... and further amusement at the thought of Scottish independence which would obviously require the generation of a new porridge standards agency for Scotland, "Scoffpot".   Anyway, enough of my silliness….PPI doesn't really mean that !

Now for the serious stuff….
For Ellie and I, PPI is a term we have coined between us to express our emotional state. 
It stands for "Precipice Proximity Index" and is essentially an assessment of how "close to the edge" of the emotional cliff we are.

The scale we use is 1-20, and the levels work something like this :-

1-2  Emotionally stable.  Wellbeing good.  Living well.  Enjoying life.  Looking forward to the future.
3-4  Emotionally stable.  Wellbeing generally good.  Coping.  Living in light of past pain but not letting it dominate the present.  Looking forward generally.
5-6  Slightly on-edge emotionally but coping.  Feeling fairly low.  Thoughts of the past sporadically overwhelm but generally able to purposefully think about something else.
7-8  Feeling emotionally tired from the grief journey.  Drained.  Physically tired.  Lacking conversational energy etc, looking back too much.
9-10  Feeling emotionally exhausted from the grief journey.  On the edge of tears and likely to start crying at a moment's notice.  Living the children's pain.  Staring backwards into the abyss of grief
11-12  Exhausted, highly emotional ; very tearful; lots of flashbacks; want to curl up into a ball and climb into bed.  Teetering off the cliff edge emotionally.
13-14 Overwhelmed, irrational.  Plummeting off the cliff edge of pain.
15-20+  Highly emotional.  Totally irrational.  Completely overwhelmed.  Suicidal.  Lying in a jibbering heap at the foot of the cliff edge emotionally.

Most of the time both Ellie and I have a PPI of between 5 and 8, and once in a while will drop to a PPI of 3-4 but rarely any lower.  We also rarely venture much above 12 but it does happen to one or other of us sometimes (thankfully not normally both of us at the same time).

It's not meant to be a very scientific scale and is based simply on our experience rather than any any kind of factual research but it does help us to express to each other the reality of the journey's highs and lows more adequately than anything else we've come across.

The trick for me to lower my PPI is burying myself into something which prevents me thinking too hard about the journey…hence I am still pursuing my triathlon training which continues to be my most effective mind-numbing experience to date.  (And I'm very pleased with my recent Reading Half Marathon PB of 1:32:24 !!)

No idea if that makes any sense or not....