Tag Archives: life

5 Happy Things – October 2019

No post on Monday because this weekend completely wiped me out; I didn’t make BristolCon and barely made it off the sofa on Sunday!

But, happy things for October?

1.I feel like an editor!

“Hi, [Agent]. If you’re after David, he’s probably covered in paint while entertaining a small child. It’s half term.”

“Actually, I wanted to tell you I’ve got the latest by [novellist] ready, but I need a million pounds.”

“Uhh… nope. I can draw you a treasure map, how’s that?”

“Oh, that would be a wonderful diversion. So no million pounds?”

“No million pounds. How about a hat?”

“A fabulous hat?”

We did actually get onto discussing another book – and it felt like everything was there. I could chat, knew what I wanted to ask, knew when to check with my colleagues… you know when you feel like something just clicks? It doesn’t happen often but it was really good – I felt like I knew my stuff!

2.Happy pills – literally!

I’ve been on anti-depressants for a month now; they are doing some good (I have been baking, although no small birds have been helping me yet) but I’m still feeling a bit grey. I had a discussion with my doctor about upping the dose, so I’m just going to keep trundling along for a bit and see how I do.

I can feel things slowly breaking up, though – I get flashes of what feels almost like spotlights. The sunlight through the trees, an offhand comment that sparks a moment of story or character, a brief moment of hope for the future – and then it goes again, but it gives me hope that it will lift eventually.

It is very weird feeling again when you haven’t been able to for a while, though. I’m expecting it to be a bit rocky when everything does hit in again!

3.BOOOOOOOOKS

Erin Lindsey’s A Golden Grave turned up in the post; I’ve finally got Kindle editions of  Three-Body Problem, Witchsign and Embers of War; I’ve started reading The House of Shattered Wings (I adore Aliette’s short stories and I’m enjoying the novel so far!); and I’ve had some wonderfully fun books at work.

Add to that my haul from FantasyCon and it’s been a good month for reading!

I need to do some reviews…

4.Cake

We’ve been given a bagful of pears, so I previously did a pear & almond & dark chocolate cake, and this weekend tried a pear & pecan cake – both from the BBC Good Food Cakes & Bakes book, which is one of my favourites. It’s got flour stains, folded corners, post-it notes, butter splashes and sugar in the spine. It’s well-loved, basically.

I also made sweetcorn muffins from Jack Monroe’s cookbook – I’m making more things from that, which has been fun!

5.Friends

It was really good to see people at FantasyCon, and it’s been lovely connecting with people on social media recently – I actually feel like I can cope with the world! (Ish). Everyone is absolutely lovely and supportive too, and it keeps making me cry (in a good way).

I’m also planning birthday and Christmas presents for various people, and that’s lots of fun! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it!

Also, I’m really looking forward to Christmas!

Thinking About Trauma

Trigger warnings for… I’m not sure what. Trauma, miscarriage, mental health? It’s a bit of a jumble of thoughts, really.

So I trundled off up to the hospital yesterday for some random tests (I’m fine, it’s only minor stuff) and I’ve been given some medication. As part of this, I was Strongly Warned that I shouldn’t be taking it while pregnant. Hah, no, no plans to get pregnant. And that was…ok. I felt fine with it.  It didn’t feel weird to say or think; it was just a Thing. I’m not planning on having children, and that’s ok.

And the nice thing, I realised afterwards, is that the doctor actually listened to me. At no point did anyone try to change my mind, disagree, tell me that I’d want children eventually, disapprove… considering there’s a lot of stories of women whose medical advisors don’t listen to them – particularly when it comes to not wanting children! – I’m incredibly grateful for the empathy and understanding that I get from most of the medical professionals that I’ve interacted with. (I make an exception for one doctor, but I try to be charitable and assume things got lost in translation with them.)

I also had to mention the miscarriages, and that was actually kinda weird. The doctor’s reaction was sympathy, and I can understand that – it’s a shitty thing to happen to anyone, and if anyone told me that they’d had the same experience, I’d be entirely sympathetic. But actually, I’m ok with it. I’m not particularly sad, or traumatised, or… whatever I should be feeling. It sucked at the time, but I think sort of expecting it to happen helped soften the blows. It’s crap to have one miscarriage, let alone three, but it’s not as big a deal as it could have been. Which isn’t to say that it’s not for other people, and it shouldn’t be treated as such: miscarriages fucking suck balls, particularly after 12 weeks. I’m just saying that I think I’ve come to terms with mine – which is good, I think. A little worrying, maybe? I wonder if I’ve repressed it or something, especially as I’ve been feeling grey for a while. But I don’t really know how you find out if you’re repressing stuff (especially as I’m ok talking about it) so… I guess I just don’t worry about it too much?

It’s fairly easy to figure out when you’re not dealing well with something. I don’t really know how you figure out if you are dealing well with it, beyond it… not really being a problem.

Anyhow.

I’m also incredibly grateful for the NHS. I trogged around four different departments and it cost me £9 plus a bus fare – and that’s for two blood tests (same arm – I was GRUMPY), a batch of about six other tests, a chat with two doctors and a nurse, a pile of pills and the promise of check-ups. All for less than £15!

I was also very grateful to not be blown off about any of the problems I asked people about. It’s reassuring to be listened to and given solutions, particularly when for most of my life the solution has been “oh, you’ll grow out of it” or “GENERIC PILLS” or one of a list of standard things that I’ve tried and haven’t helped. So that was nice.

My work also rock; I got in and, in the words of Otter, looked a “bit grey”. (I took that to mean “have you seriously just walked out of one of our Zombie games?!”) David got me tea, the Boss told me to drink it, and I got to just chill for a bit until I was less shaky. It’s really nice to just have my limitations accepted! (And be fed tea on request.)

Also, I got a red bean bun from Rachel’s as a treat for not fainting during the blood draws. GO ME! (Also also: it’s still a point of serious pissed-off-ness that I’m not allowed to give blood because I faint. Like, seriously?!)

So, there we go: a Kate ramble of thoughts and weirdness for today.

For Anyone Having That Difficult Conversation About Mental Health: I See You, And I’m Proud Of You

The thing with mental health struggles is that it can be happening to anyone.

And it’s everyone.

 

It could be the man who’s got to middle-age with the mantra of Be Strong and Men Don’t Cry and Man Up and when it’s in your head you just don’t think about that, you know? It’s not something you realise is ingrained until one day you have to accept that maybe you’re not ok, you’re not feeling your best, you’re a bit down or a bit grey or just feeling like you don’t want to go on and not even Think Positive! is helping, and you wonder if everyone feels like this.

And then you make an offhand comment to your friend, your colleague, your neighbour – and you keep thinking. Keep talking. Keep realising that it’s ok to talk about.

I see you. It’s hard to talk about something that’s meant shame and secrecy for most of your life, and it’s hard to realise that actually, you can be not ok and yet still be ok.

It’s hard, and you’re doing it. Take a moment, and just take that in. You can do it. You are doing it. I’m really proud of you.

 

It could be the parent who’s got to retirement and has just kept going, kept soldiering on because that’s what you do, kept ploughing away at all the hard stuff because that’s what life is about and then something happens that just knocks you flat, and makes it so hard to even get out of bed in the mornings. Maybe it’s not something you can just struggle through – or it’s something that keeps reoccurring, keeps coming back, and you think, “I gotta do something.”

And you talk to your children and your partner and your friends, or you read, or you go to your doctor. And you admit that something isn’t quite right, and you need help. The people around you will help – they’ll listen. They’ll do what they can.

I see you. It’s hard to talk to people with different life experiences; children that you knew so well and then had to let go; partners who have been there forever and yet still have things to learn; strangers with knowledge that can help you. It’s hard. And I’m really proud of you for doing it.

 

It could be the person who’s always known that they don’t experience the world in quite the same way that others seem to; known that slights seem sharper, defeats more bitter, emotions more damaging. Known that maybe they get knocked down a bit more easily, and it’s harder to see the path some days. But it’s hard to get people to understand, sometimes, or to get them to see that everything’s linked – maybe it isn’t just the surface problem that needs fixing, or the immediate tears that need drying. But it’s just something they cope with, day after endless day.

And they realise that they can change. That there are ways to cope more easily with the ups and downs, hard as they are to learn. That the way their brain sees the world is as much learned as it is experienced, and that even if we can’t change what happens, we can change our reactions. That there are tiny things that can’t change everything, but can just change enough.

I see you. I see you struggling, and learning, and every single day you are fighting. I am proud of you.

 

It could be the person who’s been there, done that, got the scars. They know. They’ve seen how far their mind can go down a rabbit-hole; they’ve seen what the weasels will do, faced down every bad-case scenario, fought off the worst of the demons…

And then they step up and face another day. Face the same battles under different flags. Win some, lose some, keep fighting the war.

They have to have the conversations that say, “This is me and this is how it works, for all that I wish it didn’t, or wish it would change, or don’t wish a single thing different.”

And they have to have the conversations that say, “I’ve been here. I know. Trust me.”

For everyone who still gets up every morning, despite knowing the battles they might face. For everyone who pulls out the sword again, and whacks the same weasels over the head again. For everyone who knows that it’s not going to get better, and carries on regardless.

I see you. I know you. And I know how hard it is.

I am so proud of you.

 

This is from someone who knows how hard it is, sometimes, to have those conversations; to admit defeat, or weakness, or confusion; to try to explain what’s going on inside your head when you don’t understand it, or the fog or tiredness or clouds have simply got too thick.

I see you. I see you trying to make a difference, and looking out for yourself, and trusting in yourself.

I see you fighting. And I’m so, so proud of you.