Tag Archives: mentalhealth

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

A Kate Update: March 2020

Long time no post, I know….

It feels like lots has happened, but nothing has; I haven’t had anything I’ve felt like writing about, and yet there has been so much going on! I’ve got a couple of posts swirling about books I’ve bought and some random thoughts about submissions and what it takes to be an editor, I need to do a happy things post, you obviously need more pictures of Bobble

The immediate updates for the general Apocalypse that’s going on: Cymera has been cancelled (sad, but understandable!) and I’m waiting to hear about on Can*Con in October. We’re not travelling at all this year before Can*Con (and I sincerely hope most people aren’t) so trying to use the time to get bits done on the house, and catch up on my reading. We spent a lovely afternoon in the garden today, putting a new fence up! Oh, the thrilling life of an editor…

A sleeping catI’m currently still working at the office in Oxford; I did try working from home, but it completely messed my brain up (hi panic attack!) so I’m going into work for as long as I can. Considering that about 3/4 of the office are working from home we’re doing ok on social distancing, and I walk so don’t see anyone during my commute, I think it’s the best compromise I can do at the moment. Obviously if I get symptoms etc, or anything changes, I’ll be self-isolating… but for now it seems to be working. I’m feeling horribly guilty, but a lot of that is residual “it’s just mental health, of course you can fix it!” and my partner has been incredibly supportive, so we’re just doing day by day at the moment.

I’m generally not feeling a lot better in terms of mental health, too; still very scatty, a bit grey, struggling to focus. I keep forgetting things – as an aside, I estimate I’ve lost about a third of my early memories over the last five years or so – and I’m very much relying on routine and notes to keep me up-to-date with everything, because some days everything goes in one ear and out the other! However, I am feeling a bit more settled; commuting on my own seems to be helping, as does the better weather. Fingers crossed that it continues.

I’m trying to read more; play more games; relax more. Freelance work is sort of screwing most of those objectives, but hey ho! That’s what you get when everyone suddenly has time on their hands to finish that novel they always meant to write….

Stay safe, stay well, and have a cat asleep in the sunshine to brighten your day!

A black cat asleep in the sunshine on a knitted rug