Tag Archives: life

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.

A September 2019 Update

I’m an editor! I was previously a Junior Editor, and my boss has agreed that I have now learned enough to be allowed to advance to editor. It doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility of tempering the Commissioning Editors’ wild flights of fancy, though – usually involving dinosaurs, Romans or pirates… so if you see a theme in the next couple of years, you know what happened! I still feel pretty weird about it (imposter syndrome mixed with “I don’t deserve this” mixed with “I’m not doing well enough”) but… I’ll get used to it, I guess.

DIY! We built a shed and a garden picnic table cat seat, and put up shelves/more shelves/hanging rails/a mirror/different shelves, and put a whole bunch of stuff away… and I’m officially moved in with my partner now, as all my stuff* is over in another house! Still working on it feeling like my place, though. I think that’ll come with more time.**

Cats sitting on a picnic table

I’ve been challenged to step up my editorial game. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when someone says “how can I improve?” and I have to find the answer, but this is improving on something that’s already good. So that’s going to be hard work, and tough because there’s no definite way to improve your editing game, but I want to do it.

I’m still feeling a bit grey, but doing better than I was. As my colleague put it, “you’ve got a bit more light in your eyes.” Plus I can pick stuff up (I get very tired when I’m not feeling well) and get out of bed, eat without feeling sick and actually feel again, so it’s still in that strange “wait, I have emotions?! And I can ENJOY food?” period. Hopefully I’ll carry on up for a bit.

On a cooking note, I made soup (I know, I know… but SOUP) and so it’s officially Autumn. It was some weird squash soup too, but it worked. (Butter. That’s the key.)

And something I’ve been listening to:

*books

** And books.

5 Happy Things: July 2019

Happy things for July!

1.Bookshelves

We got to put up more bookshelves, and wheeee! I enjoy doing DIY as it’s something practical and constructive and you can see the end result, but bookshelves are a favourite as it means space for more books.

Although, as a friend pointed out, those books are usually already in folorn heaps on the floor, so it’s not really more books. Just relocating those I already have.

But anyhow. It’s the brief hope of additional books that makes it all worthwhile.

2.Food

Home-made scones (with clotted cream and jam). Mushroom risotto. Salads. Rye bread with poached eggs and spinach. Porridge with berries and honey. Cheeseburger and chips. Katsu curry.

When I’m not doing too well, one of the things that goes is eating: I often feel sick, and it’s hard to eat much – so it’s always a pleasure when I start feeling better, and start wanting food again!

It’s also been a pleasure to find an egg-poacher that works, and get a toaster, and make scones again (yogurt is the key – it replaces buttermilk. I want to try cheese scones with Philadelphia, too…)

3.Terry Pratchett

Otter and I have picked up Soul Music again as an audio (ok, we’re reading it) and I still adore Pratchett so much. I picked up Guards! Guards! again recently as well, and chatted to someone about Thief of Time, and… just so much wit, and humour, and pithy insights.

4.Music

I’ve been picking up The Beatles, and Cats, and some old favourites from when I was a teenager: REM, Bruce Springsteen, The Pet Shop Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Smash Mouth (for which I entirely blame my colleague David!)

5.Learning

I’m doing more training for my SFEP Professional qualification, and it’s been quite fun to learn things again! (It’s also been very frustrating as it’s an Introduction to Fiction Editing and like, that’s my job, so… but still.)

I’m also still doing Norwegian, which is fun! I’m slowly starting to pick up more vocab and construct sentences, which has been good. My partner’s been laughing at me (mostly when I use a Norwegian noun as an English verb… spieser’ing is totally a word, right?)

Also pondering if there’s anything else I want to learn… still considering more dancing, and thinking about picking up my flute again…

A Quick Kate Update: July 2019

This Is How You Lose The Time War is now out (wheee!)

Peter Cat got himself hurt on something on Sunday, which meant a worrying trip to the vets and a very fetching bandana, and also a rather large vet’s bill. Yay. He’s now home and Very Grumpy that we won’t let him outside… I don’t think anyone’s broken it to him yet that he’s not allowed out for two weeks. He’s going to be Exceedingly Grumpy at that point! However, he is fairly stylish in a bandana-bandage sort of thing, and is being more affectionate to everyone in the hopes this will bribe us into opening a door for him. (It hasn’t worked yet.)

Uncanny Magazine and Strange Horizons both have Kickstarters on at the moment – consider supporting excellent writing! (I really need to get my budget for writing magazines sorted… there’s so many I want to subscribe to!)

At the moment I’m reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and it’s one of the first things I’ve enjoyed outside work for a while – I’ve had a bit of a reading slump so it’s nice to want to read something.

My curtains are currently moving strangely. I think this is due to the Small Black Fluff on my windowsill, staring intently at passers-by.

I’m using Drops to learn Norwegian; while I’m mostly building up vocab at the moment, it has a strong insistence on being able to say “I am allergic to peanut butter” and that I know the words for “body”, “umbrella” and “goodbye”. I am wondering at what point I need to ask it if it’s ok. (The app is actually very good; it drips new vocabulary in and uses images instead of English words, plus it’s very easy to use. Currently doing twenty minutes a day!)

I am still ridiculously lacking in motivation… not been doing great recently, so that’s been fun. It feels a bit like wading through treacle? I had a conversation with my partner about anti-depressants, anyhow, which I Do Not Want To Go Back On but if the swings get too bad then I may. We’ll see.

And finally: the groan that goes around the Editorial Team when someone risks asking, “So, is this a series…?” confirms this meme!

5 Happy Things: June 2019

All of the happy things for June 2019! Except the weather. What happened to the sunshine?! (Well, apart from one brief day. It’s like it decided to remind everyone what we were missing…)

1.Llama llama?

Llama presents - card & notebook A lovely friend has sent me all the llamas! (And a nature-y notebook, which is lined and lovely.)

It’s actually the same friend who sent me the brooch; it’s a bit of an odd friendship, but so far, I think we’re making it work! It’s really nice to get cards in the post anyhow, and I’ve been sending them things too – and now this means I get to choose and send another ridiculous card! How does one improve on llamas? A sloth, maybe?

2.Panic Attacks

Not a happy thing per se; I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had for a while this month, set off by what should have been a small stress – but if nothing else, it did show me that I can cope with them! My partner was amazing too, which helped so much. It sucks to have one and I’m so frustrated that after so long of feeling ok, my brain is being dumb… but I know that I can cope.

3.I finished a story!

Actually, I’ve finished all the stories! I’ve uploaded the final installment of The Summer Knight on Wattpad, which means my Dresden Files writing is now done. It starts at The Envoy if you want some quick reading in an urban fantasy universe!

4.DIY

We built a thing! The fences in the garden had blown down a few months back in the bad storm, and I’d deconstructed them (well, the wind did most of it) and stacked the wood… and then had an idea to built a bike shelter out of them to keep the rain (and pigeon poop) off the bikes. So we spent a sunny Saturday out in the garden with a saw and a tape measure and various spiders and woodlice and a lot of screws, and we built a thing! It felt so good to be using those skills again, and to be able to look at something and go “yes, I see the problem, we need MOAR SCREWS” because over-engineering something is always the best solution.

Well, it was either that or duct tape.

And on a side note for a happy thing; being out in the garden. It’s lovely dappled shade and it was beautiful.

5.Llama llama lllama lllllama

I blame Sean at work.