Tag Archives: mentalhealth

Distrusting the Voices

So I’ve been musing about the voices in my head, and how you know when they’re real: how do you distinguish between the anxiety weasels and actual voices that say needed things?

How do you know if you are ugly or beautiful? Worth something? Annoying or funny?

Anxiety means it’s all lies; so how do you actually know what the truth it? When do you start believing the voice in your head, having always shouted it down for lying?

I don’t really have any answers yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

The image is from Nerds with Vaginas on Facebook.

Conversations with Brain Weasels

If you haven’t come across Brain Weasels, they’re from this post by Jim Hines.  Basically, it’s those little anxiety whirls and conversations that remind you that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO GO WRONG and YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT and OH GOD SERIOUSLY?!

I’ve been having quite a few of those in the last few weeks.

 

“You messed up the thing.”

“Yeah. I did, and it sucks, but I fixed it.”

“You shouldn’t have made the mistake.”

“People mess up. It happens.”

“You realise this means YOU’RE A COMPLETE FAILURE.”

“I messed up one thing.”

“A really simple, small thing, that you should have remembered.”

“It’s not that bad. I fixed it and everyone’s cool about it.”

“You messed up something so simple – why should we be trusting you with big stuff if you can’t even remember a small thing?”

“Mistakes are how I learn.”

“You should have learned that bit already!”

“I forgot it one time!”

“Which makes you a complete and utter failure.”

 

Weasels. Bloody, annoying weasels.

The thing is, the weasels are still me. They’re just different interpretations of events, and it does make them harder to fight. I struggle a lot to tell what’s the right course of action sometimes; if I screw something up, then I rightfully should feel bad! That means I’m learning, and I won’t mess it up the next time  – but it doesn’t need to come with a side order of COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE…

It makes it hard sometimes to figure out what the right course of action is, or the right response;  it’s particularly fun* when it comes to dealing with other people, and – as I’m meeting lots of new people, and adapting to their communication styles and personalities – how to interact. This has not been particularly fun for my love life, frankly, because if you add anxiety to any usual communication and then put a dose of squee on top of it… I seriously hate brain weasels.

*not fun.

“He’s not replying to text messages very fast.”

“You’re being really annoying and texting too much, and he doesn’t want to talk to you.”

“Or he’s busy doing other stuff?”

“He hates you.”

“….or he’s asleep.”

“He hates you.”

“One evening to the next morning is not exactly a long time to wait for a reply.”

“Replying after one hour is reasonable. Overnight is not!”

“One hour is stupidly short when people are actually doing stuff. As most people do with their lives.”

“It’s entirely reasonable! He should have replied already!”

“He’s asleep. Like, you know, people without brain weasels in their head would be at 11pm.”

“He hates you.”

“He doesn’t hate me. If he hated me, he wouldn’t be talking to me at all.”

“Well, why else would he not be replying immediately?”

“Because of all the sensible reasons I just outlined?!”

“He hates you.”

 

Thanks, brain.

And don’t even get me started on my professional life… arrogant, pompous, self-centered, self-important and imposter are all words that figure with annoying regularity, and even though I continually fight them, it’s such a new area of my life that I’m struggling to see where the balance is. I’m getting there, and I at least have the reassurance that everyone around me is being wonderful at giving me level and perspective! If I ever do get too big for my boots, I know there are wonderful people who will happily smack me down – and that’s a real thing, not some weasel in my ear. Until one of my friends pokes me, I’m probably good; and that’s something I can fight the weasels with.

So…yeah. It’s an interesting learning curve – as soon as I think I’m used to one weasel and have hammered it (or at least got my arguments down), another one pops up! The fun of living with mild anxiety, I suppose. There’s always a new situation, and always a new weasel to happily weasel away in my ear…

Maybe I should teach the cats to chase them!

Tresha, Relief, and Writing

 “Tresha. It was the thankful, humble, vulnerable feeling that came after someone saw a truth in you, something they had discovered just by watching, something that you did not admit often to yourself.” – Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

I have tresha, but also what feels like the reverse; someone doing something that lets you release a long-held breath, helps you let out something that’s been held inside; unlocks something that I’d known would come back, but I didn’t know when. And it’s from someone doing something completely unsuspecting; as a friend said to me, just by being you.

For the first time in over a year, I’d picked up a piece of Dresden writing again – I had to travel to Lymington this weekend, and just started thinking about plot as I drove. What if I jammed two unfinished stories together? What if the solution to one problem was killing someone (well, this is me: I’m not nice to characters) and seeing where it goes? It meant throwing out some writing – but that happens – and it meant thinking about motives again…

So I was poking it on Saturday evening, got a bit written, and briefly mentioned it to a friend who then asked about the world and the factions. I explained – and they upped and ran with it! We were up until 2am talking about a spin-off idea, looking for mood images, discussing motives and character traits and how the world and politics and factions might work…

Tangled Secrets by Kate CoeAnd it felt like letting out a breath.

If you’ve seen the rest of the site or read this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I loved the Dresden world; I loved the game, the characters, the intricacy, the factions. The fact that I have about 100k of fanfic words on Wattpad (either published or not yet) and more in a folder tells you how much I loved writing it. And it got locked away when Ryan left, because I couldn’t face it on my own. I’d lost my friend and my partner for that world, and I couldn’t tell those stories any more. It’s sort of been coming back, slowly; putting the words out there has helped, even though I haven’t really been able to write anything new.

And while this isn’t that world and partnership, and never will be – it was letting out the same breath. It was loosening the bands that held it all in. It was being able to talk about something I loved, and be back in that sort of world with someone who gets it.

I cried, and I laughed, and I don’t have the words to be able to say how grateful I am even for that small loosening of the tightness. For the small relief in the knowledge that says yes, this will come back. This can happen again. This feeling isn’t gone, and isn’t it wonderful?

And then I got hit in the chest with a bagful of emotions in return.

As you may know, I tend to be enthusiastic about encouraging people to write, and don’t tend to have much sympathy for excuses – in a nice way! I just don’t hold that you need to be good enough, or have An Idea, or be writing The Right Thing, or wait for whatever it is you’re hoping will make you write…I will always have sympathy for writer’s block, though, because just not having the words does suck (as I know!) But anyway, said friend had mentioned that they used to write, and now don’t, and they wanted to start again but

Well, that got short shrift from me when they mentioned it a few months ago: short enough that I actually started a document, filled in the first line and sent it to them – and they wrote something! WIN! But what I hadn’t realised until they told me was that it wasn’t me gently prodding (ok, not-so-gently prodding) that made them write. It was me.

It was the fact that I’ve been through depression and anxiety and still live with both. It was everything I’ve done in the face of that. It was the published books and short stories and words and blog and ideas.

It was the lack of excuses that I give myself.

I have to remind myself, when I’m not doing well, that the fact I’m alive is a huge thing. The fact I’ve made it another day is everything. And anything I can do, when I’m feeling like a failure for not doing enough, is all I need to do. I hate the idea of being inspiration because I feel like a failure, and I hate someone not being able to see that I’m a mix of both. But I need to acknowledge that I have done more than I could have, and maybe more than I should have. I keep going, even if it’s one step at a time through fog. I do this. I can do this. I have done it.

Kintsugi

Having someone else tell me that, outside of my own head, took my breath away.

Tresha.

And – and – I’m writing! Despite being a sounding-board, it’s not going to be my story to write (we can have the argument about that later, Badger, because I know you’ve just grumbled at the screen) but I have images and scenery and snapshots, and I scribbled a short piece as soon as I woke up on Sunday morning to send over. I’m used to rpg writing and so the idea of pieces being used, changed, discarded; that’s not a problem for me. But being able to put the flashes of scene onto paper, being able to scribble down a conversation, being able to write a chunk of description – even if it never gets used, it’s wonderful. It’s there. It is coming back.

It’s another infill of gold; and it’s a breath, held for too long, suddenly let out.

The words are coming back.

5 Things To Know About Friending Someone With Depression

Relatively random, but something I’ve been thinking about on my walks to work. It’s partly from self-interest, but also interesting for me to remember as I make more friends who are all unique and have their own challenges – which could include mental illnesses! (Or just, y’know, not liking cake. I have to reassess my priorities in that situation.) It applies to any mental illness, I guess, but I can only speak from my own experience…

  1. It’s hard. You’ll want to scream at them. Hell, I have depression and I occasionally want to scream at my friends who have depression. Occasionally I want to scream at myself!
  2. You can’t fix them. This one is the hardest to learn and the most important. You can do everything right. You can be there every time. You can listen and hold and help and be everything you possibly can, and it will never be enough. You are not them. You cannot heal someone else’s wounds. You cannot carry someone else’s burden. You cannot fight their battles for them. You can stand by their side and support them, but it is their fight – and they may lose.
  3. It fucking annoys me, too. Seriously. My head is a complete and utter idiot that’s trying to get me killed. My anxiety is a paranoid, restless whirlpool and my depression is a grey fog. They piss me off every day, so I absolutely get how annoying they are for other people.
  4. It all varies. One minute I’ll be fine. The next, doing the same task is the hardest thing. There are certain things that are harder, yes; if I’m feeling brave or having a good day, I might be absolutely fine with them. There might be trigger things, or might not. Something will be absolutely fine one day, and then awful the next; there isn’t necessarily any consistency.
  5. It’s not all of me. It colours everything; even the good days are reflected in the fact that they could be bad. It touches everything I do. But it’s only one strand of me, and I refuse to let it stop me doing anything.

And overall; it’s worth it. Absolutely, definitely…worth it.

This concludes your random PSA for today!

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