Tag Archives: mentalhealth

2019 & the Decade; A Review

I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to do this, because… well, 2011 to 2019 feels like it’s been a pretty shit decade for me.

Life events from 2011 to 2019But… actually, you know what? It hasn’t. In this decade, I’ve been a librarian, a web developer and a book witch, and I’ve now been an editor for a-year-and-a-half. I’ve read I-have-no-idea-how-many books, and I’ve written over fifteen books and numerous short stories. I’ve played and GM’d several RPG campaigns, and written ridiculous numbers of words in side-stories. I’ve added heaps of skills of my DIY toolbox, not least the incredibly useful one of knowing when NOT to drill into a wall. I’ve played a bunch of board games and want to play many more. I’ve crafted and sung and travelled. I’ve got my library degree. I’ve had some amazing commutes and lived in some lovely places. I saw friends get married and have kids, and I’ve got to see them grow. I’ve been to numerous cons, including WorldCon in Dublin. I’ve run my own business. I’ve loved and laughed and made an incredible number of friends.

In my personal life, I started the decade by getting married. I’m unfortunately ending the decade still married (yay for long divorce proceedings!) but it’s all looking hopeful for the New Year. And in the last year-and-a-bit, I’ve met my wonderful other half and moved into a house full of books (only some of which are my fault.)

And speaking of which, obviously this decade has involved books, books, conventions and more books.

Otter asked me how many books I’d read, and… well. I honestly wouldn’t even know where to start with a number! Let’s just go with “lots”.

Book Polishers advertI also started running my own business – Book Polishers has now been with me for two years, and I’m still trundling along with it. It sometimes feels annoying to work a full day and then come home and do the same, but it’s also a bundle of different subjects and people, with much more involvement in the actual book format – so it’s still something I enjoy!

On the writing front, I’ve published five and finished nine books in the Greensky Series, plus a number of short stories. I’ve published four short stories in the No Man’s series and have three books waiting for me to do something with them. Madcap Library is ongoing, and my random Dresden fanfic is up on Wattpad. I’ve also done NaNoWriMo and won twice! Beyond that, I have a pile of short stories and ideas that are waiting for me to get some inspiration again; it would be nice if writer’s block would let me go, but I’m content that I’ve done a lot of stuff this decade.

I’ve also been blogging here since 2014. WUT.

In more fluffy news, we had cats, cats, a daft lizard, and more cats (Frankie & Benny, Spike, Cashew, Peppermint, and Peter & Jodie)…

…and I’ve done all the DIY (by which I mean “caused general chaos”), all the crafting and all the baking.

And I’ve travelled.

I’ve also spent this decade with some downs; losing Ryan, losing my relationship and a house I loved, moving a lot and losing a lot of friendships… it hasn’t been fun in many ways. But it’s definitely been a lesson in trusting myself, trusting my gut, and also learning that I can live with my mental health problems – and that I am stronger than I thought I was. I’ve learned to take care of myself, and learned that doing it pays off. It’s actually been incredibly satisfying to be able to put my knowledge to use: to have friends talk to me about mental health and be able to give them good advice; to have my partner ask about a DIY thing and to know what to do; to be able to talk books and writing and craft, and be happy with my knowledge! I’ve still got so much to learn, but it feels like everything has been worth it so far.

It’s been an… interesting decade.

Here’s to the next!

Mini Kate update

I’ve been on anti-depressants for about six weeks now, and they’re definitely working – happy! Baking! Singing! Stuff!

But this last week has reminded me that it’s only six weeks, and brain chemistry often doesn’t work that fast… I have all the energy and want to do all the things but actually, I’m still really tired. I’m lacking motivation. I’m struggling to turn my brain off, and when I have a moment to just try to relax, the underlying anxiety makes me restless.

(As a side note, my partner did comment on my habit of always needing to do something, and wondered where that came from. I told them it would probably take a therapist to untangle that knot!)

From what I remember, the six months after starting anti-depressants are often the most dangerous – you’ve got the energy and feel better, but the underlying thoughts haven’t yet sorted themselves out. I’m not suicidal (thank goodness) but I do kinda understand where that danger is coming from – I’m feeling better, but also still bad. It’s a weird combination.

I have been baking; haven’t been reading. Have been getting out a bit more; haven’t been sleeping well. Have had more energy and felt up to tidying and people; have also crashed badly afterwards. I still find it hard to settle, even if I’m also playing games because my mind just won’t focus. It’s made work a bit more difficult but at least I can multi-task there, whereas I often find that difficult at home.

But (but!) I am coping better. We had a hectic and chaotic day at work last week where everything went wrong, and I was ok. I had a very stressful day yesterday with family, and I was ok. So that’s been good, if weird. (It’s a very odd feeling of wanting to cry to release stress, but not being able to. Yay drugs!)

So, overall: doing better. I need to keep remembering that I’m not well, keep conserving energy, and try not to overspend my spoons even though they’re better quality spoons.

Also, it’s Christmas soon! Wheee! I can sing carols round the house! (It’s ok, work people, I’m not going to be singing them round the office. I’m not that cruel.)

Nottingham & Cat Cafe

So Otter and I just had a weekend in Nottingham, which involved donuts (ohmygoodness Doughnotts), far too much amazing pizza (Oscar and Rosie‘s, highly recommended), modern classical music (Ludovico Einaudi), a lot of walking up hills (looking at you, Lenton), a very good comic book shop (Page 45), multiple charity shops, really good apple & mint tea at Patisserie Valerie, lots of random Christmas-present-buying, absolutely amazing hot chocolate in a cute little chilled-out cafe (CookieShake, which was really quirky and fun; definitely somewhere to go back to!) and Carcassonne (Otter kept winning), and a CAT CAFE.

Which, obviously, is the content you’re reading for.

So, without further ado:

The cat on my lap is Toast, who was very interested in the cream on my plate and did manage to sneakily swipe a pawful of Otter’s before we caught him! He did submit to scritches after being informed that we weren’t going to let him have any more cream, and was a small blissed-out heap of purrs for about five minutes before being distracted with someone else’s cream…

The cafe itself was large; it had two main sections and each was at least twice the size of the Newcastle cafe! The cats were all quite curious, but didn’t much care for people, although they were friendly enough (as Toast proved) – but as the cafe must have quite a throughfare, I can understand the cats not being particularly affectionate. They were very adorable though, and we got a lot of fun watching them all. There was also a HUGE ginger Maine Coon who spent the entire hour asleep in a box.

Beyond that; we had a great weekend, and it was a lot of fun wandering round Nottingham again too! My happy pills are definitely making me better; I was a little anxious at times but nothing nearly as bad as I’ve been previously, and I coped with all the things! Whee!

Only got a few chapters of two books read, though, so I need to keep on with that…

5 Happy Things – October 2019

No post on Monday because this weekend completely wiped me out; I didn’t make BristolCon and barely made it off the sofa on Sunday!

But, happy things for October?

1.I feel like an editor!

“Hi, [Agent]. If you’re after David, he’s probably covered in paint while entertaining a small child. It’s half term.”

“Actually, I wanted to tell you I’ve got the latest by [novellist] ready, but I need a million pounds.”

“Uhh… nope. I can draw you a treasure map, how’s that?”

“Oh, that would be a wonderful diversion. So no million pounds?”

“No million pounds. How about a hat?”

“A fabulous hat?”

We did actually get onto discussing another book – and it felt like everything was there. I could chat, knew what I wanted to ask, knew when to check with my colleagues… you know when you feel like something just clicks? It doesn’t happen often but it was really good – I felt like I knew my stuff!

2.Happy pills – literally!

I’ve been on anti-depressants for a month now; they are doing some good (I have been baking, although no small birds have been helping me yet) but I’m still feeling a bit grey. I had a discussion with my doctor about upping the dose, so I’m just going to keep trundling along for a bit and see how I do.

I can feel things slowly breaking up, though – I get flashes of what feels almost like spotlights. The sunlight through the trees, an offhand comment that sparks a moment of story or character, a brief moment of hope for the future – and then it goes again, but it gives me hope that it will lift eventually.

It is very weird feeling again when you haven’t been able to for a while, though. I’m expecting it to be a bit rocky when everything does hit in again!

3.BOOOOOOOOKS

Erin Lindsey’s A Golden Grave turned up in the post; I’ve finally got Kindle editions of  Three-Body Problem, Witchsign and Embers of War; I’ve started reading The House of Shattered Wings (I adore Aliette’s short stories and I’m enjoying the novel so far!); and I’ve had some wonderfully fun books at work.

Add to that my haul from FantasyCon and it’s been a good month for reading!

I need to do some reviews…

4.Cake

We’ve been given a bagful of pears, so I previously did a pear & almond & dark chocolate cake, and this weekend tried a pear & pecan cake – both from the BBC Good Food Cakes & Bakes book, which is one of my favourites. It’s got flour stains, folded corners, post-it notes, butter splashes and sugar in the spine. It’s well-loved, basically.

I also made sweetcorn muffins from Jack Monroe’s cookbook – I’m making more things from that, which has been fun!

5.Friends

It was really good to see people at FantasyCon, and it’s been lovely connecting with people on social media recently – I actually feel like I can cope with the world! (Ish). Everyone is absolutely lovely and supportive too, and it keeps making me cry (in a good way).

I’m also planning birthday and Christmas presents for various people, and that’s lots of fun! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it!

Also, I’m really looking forward to Christmas!