Tag Archives: mentalhealth

A Kate Update: May 2020

Still here, still going. Still grey. I have lots of posts I want to write but get halfway through and can’t get the words right. (Also, my hands won’t do what I want – I keep typing words wrong. It’s made emails a lot of fun.)

I just made almond & orange cake, and chocolate & orange cake (I had oranges to use up, ok?) The taste test hasn’t yet happened, but they smell good!

Bobble is asleep in his veggie box; his second-favourite place is on a different box, and his third is on his piece of packaging paper on the floor (maybe it’s cooler?). He’s still shouty, opinionated, loves cuddles and loves his new food. We aren’t so keen on the farts from said food, but hopefully they’ll decrease over time.

(Note the pigeon in the window above… we had a nest for a month! We got to see two chicks grow from fluff to pigeons, and then learn to fly. Bobble was Distinctly Unimpressed, and I think the pigeon was also Unimpressed. They mostly interacted nicely though.)

I’ve given up on the garden. The Otter has taken over it for me, as I have deemed it too large a use of spoons and just generally too much stress. However, we have finished painting the fence! At the moment I’m just letting everything grow – the irises in particular look gorgeous.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is my current go-to for brain-turn-off.

I have managed to read a couple of books – reviews to come, I hope! I’m also managing to get through full days at work, and not (always) needing a nap at lunchtime. I’m still sleeping badly, though, or at least waking up feeling exhausted even though I’ve slept.

Haven’t got the spoons to do a Happy Things post, but there have been happy things. I got some great card games for my birthday, and ate cake; I’ve been for some good cycle rides, and chatted to friends, and read some good books, and had plenty of Bobble cuddles. Work’s been going well – I get to reference Avatar The Last Airbender! – and I’m enjoying cooking.

On the downside, the grey has been getting worse, in some ways – I’m definitely not as bad in terms of emotion as I was, and I haven’t been breaking as much. But everything is still very flat and has now become more dream-like; I’ve been wondering where I am, or forgetting what the view outside the window looks like, or trying to remember what I did yesterday. (The last is a bit more of a problem for everyone with days all being the same, I suspect, but it’s still frustrating.) Grey and fluffy, maybe, rather than just grey? But I am being hit with random memories at odd times, which I think is a good thing; hopefully it means my brain is slowly healing. I’ve got another six months minimum on the anti-depressants anyhow, so it’ll be interesting to see how the summer goes.

So: still here, still going, still got Bobble snorkles!

Random Things from Kate Life

Still here, just trundlin’. I don’t really feel like I’ve got anything big to say right now, so I haven’t been posting – I just don’t know what to write. But have some mini-Kate updates, because I have managed to collect a small amount of interesting stuff.

Cat asleep in a box

First update: Bobble has found A Box. It’s always a little disconcerting when your vegetable box sprouts a small black hole, and even more disconcerting when it starts snoring… but it is now His Box, so we’re resigned to having a fuzzy, snoring void at regular intervals.

As you may have spotted on my social media, I’m still buying all the books for work. We’ve announced five and we’ve got *checks notes* two more to announce, and then I’ll do a round-up! I did start the process at different times with all of them, they just ended up coinciding… much to my contract-fuddled-brain’s dismay… but they are all AWESOME and I love them. I am currently in the middle of Cover Hell and will shortly be diving into Editing Hell – meant affectionately! I do like editing, especially when they’re amazing books – but it’s a lot of work!

On which note, if you want a good book to read that is now actually out and I can talk about, try Beneath the Rising from Premee Mohamed – it’s the sort of book that you root for the characters, and then you think you know what’s going on, and then it hits you with everything and you’re yelling at the author on Twitter because HOW VERY DARE THEY. You’ll love it.

Otter has been reading GreenSky, and is now onto the unpublished ones… squee! They’re enjoying them, and I think they’re enjoying access to the author – they keep asking me random questions and picking up on little things, which has been really fun. I’m getting flashes of the world opening up again, as if everything’s lifted off my shoulders, just for a second – unfortunately it isn’t any more than a second, but it’s bittersweet when it happens.

Bobble-cat in the garden

We took a Bobble out into the garden over the weekend – he was a little freaked out (I think partly from the fact someone was following him constantly thanks to the lead, and partly just NEW SPACE WAT DIS) but he ate grass and stepped in fox poo and mostly enjoyed himself. (We didn’t enjoy the fox poo. Luckily the smell wore off by the next day.)

I’ve had a stack of freelance work so most of my time has been spent doing that, but in between that, work and naps, I’ve been re-reading The Goblin Emperor, playing Sagrada and Carcassonne, and trying to stop my laptop falling off my lap because Bobble has decided that he wants to sit there. I’m remembering all my little life-with-cat tricks (slide your feet backwards because you don’t know if there’s suddenly a tail there; get tea and toast BEFORE you sit down; make sure everything is within reach; accept that you will have cat hair EVERYWHERE) and enjoying the snuggles.

Excuse me?In general terms, I’m not great, but still trundling along; physically I’m very up and down, either with all the energy or with none whatsoever. Mentally I’m going through bad points, but just fighting them off as best I can – they’re mostly unexpected and with no obvious triggers, which is very frustrating! The medication change is kicking in but with no major effects so far, so I’m mostly just plodding on as best I can and fighting weasels on the way. My partner has been looking after me, which is great, and so far *crosses fingers* we’re fine and my loved ones are fine, so I’m just hoping everyone stays safe.

On which note, Bobble is insisting that naps are the solution to all of life’s problems, but has also declared that our technique needs work. He’s always very happy to demonstrate correct technique, and remind us that we need to practise. He is a very dilligent teacher!

Foxes in Love - task failed

Image via Foxes in Love.

5 Happy Things: April 2020

I’m not ok – and that’s ok. I’m coping, basically. Nesting in duvet when I need to, answering the emails I can, doing the work I can. Trying to keep my head above water and just let myself have my limits.

I’m still raging, though. I hate being ill. I hate my head. I hate not being capable and able to work as much as I want to; I hate letting people down. BAH.

But it is what it is, and I’m grateful that I am safe, and healthy, and in the best position that I can be. I’m making a few changes to try to help (coming off a medication, trying to make sure I eat and exercise, being open about my limits) but mostly I’m just getting through each day – and that’s fine.

So, happy things!

1.New games

I’ve been playing a game called Sagrada – I’ve got the Android version, but there is a physical board game too! You choose dice to make up a pattern, and it’s so pretty – as well as involving enough thought to make it quite complex at times.

I’ve also been playing a silly set called Gnomes Garden on PS4 – it’s all timing of tasks and it’s quite fun!

2.Bobble

He’s been enjoying morning snuggles while I read a book… he’s not quite doing laps yet, but will put his front paws on you while the back end stays firmly on the sofa. That assists with requesting scritches, of course.

And he has the tiniest blep!

3.Easter Eggs

I’m not doing chocolate very well at the moment, but we got some lovely Easter eggs from Wicked Chocolate (who were doing delivery over Easter! Not sure about currently though…) and they were small and perfect and nommable. Om nom nom.

I also got a whole bag of extras, and delivered them round our close – I was trying to be sneaky, but at least two of our neighbours saw me (the problem of a cul-de-sac!) but hey ho, it still resulted in chocolate for everyone!

4.The garden

Progress! More fence, a garden bench and some makeshift decking.

 

 

5.Friends and Neighbours

The kindness of a neighbour letting us borrow tools. A far-away friend sending a silly gif. A parcel with a wonderful teacup and teas arriving. A ridiculous pun from a terrible person. Check-ins from work colleagues and friends. Cute animal videos from a work friend. Dog and yoga updates from my aunt. Daily life updates from my best friends.

I am finding it hard to send things back out, but everything is received and read and appreciated. Thank you <3

Coping Mechanisms

Considering this is a ridiculously stressful time, I thought I’d share some of my coping mechanisms for when the Weasels get too loud… with the proviso that these work for me, your mileage may vary, and also that The Samaritans have a butt-load of good advice on their website about signs of stress and how to cope.

Have hugs, and know that you can get through this.

“And then what?”

It’s something that has got me through both good times and bad.

It helps with the good: instead of “what if this goes wrong?!” it’s “what if this goes RIGHT?”

And it helps with the bad: if I’m not feeling well and all I can see is grey, then it’s “ok, so how are any of these disaster scenarios going to help? What’s going to happen next?”

And I usually find I’m better off ignoring whatever idiocy my brain has suggested, and just plodding my way along my path: I knew what I was doing when I set out, and I’m not going to listen to the  weasels.

It’s just a way to bring everything back to reality when the anxiety spirals start to get too bad, and the catastrophising is getting out of control.

It’s the practical. It’s the grounding. It’s a simple “this is the likely consequence.”

One thing at a time

Even if it’s getting out of bed: covers off. Then legs out. Then upright. Then actually out of bed.

Even one of those steps is a step further than I was previously – even if I then don’t get any further. (Usually, I do… if only because I’m cold and want tea!)

Open the website tab, even if you don’t start looking at it yet. And then it’s open, and at some point when I next get distracted from what I’m doing, I’ll click on it and take the next step.

It’s taking the first small step, and then the next, and then the next. Don’t think about the whole if it’s too overwhelming. Just do one thing, then another.

It’s all progress.

Even something is better than nothing

One bowl washed is better than none.

One item tidied is better than nothing.

One page read is better than none.

Even starting a task is better than not starting.

The proviso to this, of course, is being able to pack it away or have it not get in your way once it’s started. I ration my spoons for larger tasks that have to be done all at once!

It’s ok

Not “it’s going to be ok.” I can’t promise myself that.

Just that it’s ok to panic. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be feeling how you’re feeling.

Just let it pass. Let it through. It’s ok.

Weather the storm.

Be safe

Curl up in bed, if that’s the safest place for you.

Bury yourself in a book.

Have a shower.

Just be safe. Hiding is ok; the world is crap, and it’s ok to just retreat for a bit if that’s what you need.

It will be ok. You will get through this.

Kate Update: April 2020

I'm so tired - I'm a few degrees to the left of the world - or maybe it's more like a fog - either way it's lonely

Work: buying books. Doing contracts. I’ve come so far in two years with contracts – I had a panic attack the first time I tried to do one, and now… well, they’re still hard, and I still get overwhelmed, but it’s easier. And yet it still seems like I have so far to go!

That said, it gets me awesome books – Anna and Saint Death’s Daughter are two recent ones. Waiting to be able to share a whole bunch more news with you all! (I’ll do a general update soon.)

I’m managing to work from home, just about; I’m doing about two major tasks a day (and consider that my at-work rate is closer to five…) but I figure that if that’s what I’m getting done, then that’s what I’m getting done. I’m going slow, steady, and trying to prioritise what’s actually important right now.

Cat asleep on a cardboard box

Home: doing ok with being stuck indoors. Been getting out and doing more on the garden fence; went down to the shop yesterday; been scritching Bobble and enjoying his company as he sleeps on a box next to me. Knowing cats, I’m sure he’d prefer it if he could sleep in the box, but it’s currently full of crafting stuff. So tough luck, kitty. He’s accepting lap scritches now though!

Me: not great. Bad dreams. Very tired (been napping every lunchtime.) Big ups and downs; I’m either rising towards manic or sliding towards crashed, with very few level bits. The anti-depressants are in many ways masking the feelings; they simply block them off, rather than removing them – so I figure that if these are the ones that are getting through, I’d be in a much worse state if I wasn’t on meds! I’m very grateful that I have some to at least let me function, even if I’m still having ups and downs. It’s still a struggle some days (and nights), but I have coping mechanisms.

I’m still not managing to read, either. I’ve got so many good books on my stack, and I just can’t focus on them for more than a few pages. Work ones are slightly better as I have permission to skim, but even then… it’s really annoying! I could do with being in another world! Definitely can’t write, that just feels completely blocked. Hey ho. Still hoping it will come back.

And, randomly; Chuck Wendig is giving good “it’s ok, we’re in a weird situation” advice at the moment.

But generally: ok. Buying presents for people (gin! Chocolate eggs! Mini figurines! Why are there so many birthdays in April?!). Drinking tea. Scritching Bobble. Getting through work, getting through small house chores, and just trying to enjoy the peace.

may your cup overflow with peace, love and pure awesomeness today