Tag Archives: mentalhealth

A Few More Spoons

I had two weeks off. I slept (a bit), I read (a bit). I did chores. I got a walk in every day. I went for coffee with new people at the community centre (scary!) and helped clean radiators and got my foot sniffed by a cat. I took a bunch of stuff to the dump and to charity. I saw my work colleagues several times, which was wonderful and really helped with going back this week. I ate sushi and mochi. I picked up thirty-five pallets and got them back to the house and somehow got them round to the garden (they’re going to be a fence). I played computer games. I saw friends and had amazing afternoon tea. I definitely didn’t rest as much as I should have, but when do I ever?

I did break, and spent an entire day in bed, exhausted and aching and overwhelmed by the thought of getting up. I did spend quite a few hours on the sofa, curled up in blankets and trying not to think. I did have to frequently shout at weasels. But the hollow space inside me isn’t quite as large as it was previously, and I’ve got a few more spoons available. I’m not better, or well; but I’m better than I was.

I’ve got some book reviews to do; I’ve got some thoughts to write up. I’ve got things swirling around inside my brain that haven’t quite made it into Sensible Thoughts yet, but we’ll get there.

ALSO I’VE GOT BOOKS TO TELL YOU ABOUT. I BOUGHT BOOKS! (I’ll do a separate update, but they are all amazing and I can’t wait to squeak.)

And it’s not one of mine, but The Unspoken Name is now out – seriously, go and buy it, and then yell at Kass about Tal, because Tal. Also is Harrow on your TBR yet? It should be.

And my person and I put pictures up on walls, so I now have six of my GreenSky covers lining the hallway at the flat. I cried when we put the first one up. It feels a little more like somewhere I can be, now.

It’s spring on Willow Walk; there’s snowdrops and streams and catkins, and one tiny crocus poking up by our garden gate. I’m back at work, picking up the pieces of my inbox and giving David donuts to say thank you. Picking up relationships. Picking up reading. Trying to figure out what’s important.

(Like whomping the boardgames group at Carcassonne on my first day back, because that’s definitely important.)

Right now, it’s just to keep stepping onwards and stepping forwards. I’m still on shaky ground, but I’m upright and balancing. I’ve got this. I can keep going.

Snowdrops in an open woodland, February 2020

A mini Kate Update – February 2020

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet – sorry! I’m currently off work for two weeks (well, a week now) as my medication is kicking my butt; I hate being off work but the doctor suggested it as the one stress we could remove, just to see if everything settles down. The medication is working, which is good; I mean, not having feels isn’t great but it’s better than having too many. The problem is that it’s currently letting the weasels have free reign, and I’m having trouble shouting them down constantly. A week of sleep has helped a little (I’m also ridiculously tired, struggling to get out of bed, finding sitting upright hard… all the usual fun) so I’m hoping another week of sleep will help, and then getting back into the routine of work.

A gardener chasing after a goose that has stolen his radioI’m pretty much out of options so I’m keeping on this course; I know the first six months are the hardest, and I’m fighting something that’s been entrenching itself over the past fifteen years. The rest of my life stresses have mostly got better and I’ve been able to haul the growing depressions out, so it’s just the roots I’ve got to dig out now! I hope, anyway. Gonna keep going. Gotta keep going. That’s pretty much it.

There are a few rays of light; I had an idea for a game, and as Otter has been creating a simple little detective game, I had a chat to them about the possibilities of actually learning to make it. I’ve also managed to read a little, even if it is books I’ve read before. I’m also managing to Cope With Occasional People, and my foot got sniffed by a very snooty cat, so that’s progress. I’m also being aided in The Fortnight of Rest by Blue Planet 2, shortbread, amazing friends and terrible memes, so that’s all helpful… I haven’t really had the focus for reading or playing computer games, although Otter did turn into a Horrible Goose earlier in the week, which was hilarious. (It’s an amazing game and if you haven’t played it, you should.)

Beyond that – I’m just keeping going, and taking each day as it comes!

A Few Degrees to the Left of the World

It feels like directions to fairyland… or to another way of thinking.

Just feeling super tired at the moment; from someone that could rarely sit down without a book/laptop/writing/craft/phone in her hands, I can now sit and do nothing for stretches of time. I can’t focus and struggle to work out what I need to do next. My emotions are someplace in the distance, happening but not actually affecting me. And mornings fucking SUCK.

On the plus side, I’ve come out of my latest down slump. Let’s hope I stay up for a bit longer this time!

Image from Kate Leth aka. Kate Or Die.

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

Figuring Out A Changing Normal

TL;DR and content warnings: mental health stuff, depression, suicidal thoughts.

I can handle depression. I’ve had fifteen years to figure out what my moods are and how to cope with them, and what works best for any given problem. That’s not fun, but it’s cope-able. I know what to do with it.

What I’m currently struggling to handle is depression + medication.

I’m trying to work out what’s new, and what’s the same. What’s me, and what’s the medication. I’ve got a handle on depression, anxiety and emotion storms: I don’t have a handle on depression that feels like a black hole, anxiety that gives me the nevousness but not the fear, emotion storms that come and go as quickly as a passing cloud.

Medication throws everything I’m used to up in the air, and I have to try to catch it all as it falls.

I’ve still got the thought spirals for anxiety (why do you knead bread? what do we have for dinner? what would happen if there was a solar flare apocalypse and do I need to learn how to make an oven? I should be reading books. I should be working. I should be resting. I’m not sleeping. I need to sleep. I should be working. I have bread flour to use. do you knead it for the gluten or the yeast?) but none of the fear. None of the restlessness. None of the whirlpool. It’s just my brain going THINK THINK THINK without any reason.

I’ve still got the emotion storms, but I can’t feel them build; they’re like a sudden rainstorm from a blue sky, rather than the build-up of thunderheads that they were before. Then, I could see them forming: I could understand the situations and emotions that were going into them, and get myself to safety before I broke down (or just broke). Now, I get a few minutes’ warning and then I just break, crying uncontrollably – and then it’s gone. I’m ok again.

I’ve still got the depression, but it’s got no punch, because all of its feeling has vanished. The black hole that has formed under my ribs is just sucking all my emotions; I can do surface reactions, but I can’t feel anything more. No tug of the heartstrings. No stomach-hurting joy. No gripping sadness either, and no whirlpool of fear, but it’s just sucked…everything.

It’s also given me pretty bad suicidal thoughts; there’s no emotion behind it so I know it’s not actually me, but it’s still pretty frustrating when my brain throws up “oh yeah, kill yourself!” as a solution to small problems. Gee, thanks, brain. That’s not a good solution. Eff off. (I’m fine, by the way – zero intention. I think someone referred to them as “passive thoughts” which is a good way of thinking about it; versus the active intention, which if I ever had I would certainly do more to get help. At the moment I’m just fighting weasels.)

On a random sidenote, I was reading Neil Sharpson’s blog, and he mentions (understandably) freaking out over sudden suicidal thoughts. And I just thought.. well, hey, it’s just another day for me. That’s pretty scary if I look at it from one point of view, but it’s actually also reassuring. I know my brain throws them up, and I know how to deal with it. (Kick the weasels. Hard. It’s not easy or fun but it works.)

I can also understand the thing about the first six months being the most dangerous, because you still have depression but you also have energy. I do still have depression. I can feel it. But I don’t have any of the emotions behind it – and that makes it harder to understand, and to cope with.

But for now: I’m keeping going. I’m holding onto my routine, and my partner, and my friends, and everything around me, and just stepping forward. I’m trusting that if I just keep on a bit longer then everything will start to settle, and everything will start to balance again. I’m trusting that the medication will work and that despite the difficulty, this is going to make me stronger.

The Resistance: Small Acts of Kindness

My world’s on fire, how about yours? And no, I definitely don’t like it. I would much rather have boredom. (Earworm brought to you courtesy of Mr David Moore breaking into Smash Mouth at any and every opportunity.)

After the glorious fun that was the political fuckery of December, I had a long think, and then a bit of a thought-splurge on Twitter about what I could actually DO.

My overall conclusion? Be more kind.

(I’m still debating getting that as a tattoo.)

Off my list so far, I’ve subscribed to the Guardian, and also joined the Patreons of Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Uncanny Magazine, Locus and  Shoreline of Infinity. (If you’re into podcasts, by the way, I also highly recommend Breaking The Glass Slipper.) I’ve asked at work about payroll giving to donate to The Trussell Trust, Shelter and probably BookTrust (and I already donate to Tommy’s), and I’ve also asked about mental health first aid courses. I’m looking into Arts Emergency too, and the possibility of internships.

What else? I did Christmas cards for the neighbours, and I’m starting to get to know people. I want to do a crafty evening once a month, and get into the habit of buying a foodbank item when I shop. Beyond that, I’ve started to consolidate myself; sort out what I have and where I have it, and get myself onto a firmer footing for the next ten years. It’s going to be rough, so I want to know where I stand before we hit stormier waters.

(Yay.)

I also want to be better at being there for people this year; I always do find it hard as an introvert and someone with limited spoons, but I want to make sure I keep up with friends. I know I forgot things, so my calendar is going to get lots of new entries to remind me! I’ve already got a bundle of random cards to send out, and I want to pick up some odd little gifts in the sales that I can just post at random times. Beyond that, I need to make sure I actually keep in touch, too!

Everything else on the list is ongoing… but it feels good to have started it all! If the world’s going to try to make selfishness and hate a priority, then fuck that. I’m going to do my best to be kind.

And as a final thought:

I might not be able to make cool shit at the moment, but I can bloody well enable it. I’ve got the power to choose what I want to publish, and I’m damn well going to enable what I want to see in the world. Diversity, kindness and weirdness are the watchwords of 2020!