The next few weeks are also ‘Freshers’ for me. I start back at Uni next week, and have several exams that I need to prep for. But, I’ve got a few things to talk about…
ChangesOne of the major things I’m noticing is that I’m still as willing to do everything I used to get up to, but I get about three into my 20 piece daily list (I used to manage it), but I’m not who I was. Part of that, I have to be honest, is probably to do with being depressed. Part of it has to do with my issues with anaemia and persistent illness. A LOT of it has to do with maintenance insomnia. (I’ll be coming back to that one later, but the short version of that is I have finally taught myself to go to sleep pretty much when I go up to bed. Sometimes I go up and meditate and I fall asleep. Sometimes, I just go to sleep after reading for a bit. What normally happens though, is around 1am to 2am – one and a half to two hours before I’m thinking I fell asleep, I wake again. I don’t really help myself at this point, because I’ll have a drink of iced tea. Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep. Most of the time, I can’t. It lasts till…sometimes…8am, before I finally get to sleep. In short, it’s hard to plan a day when you don’t know how much sleep you’re getting the night before, and unfortunately, whatever else I have going on, sleep creates problems if I don’t get enough of it).
Most of this is all pretty well known, if you know me, even in passing. It means that my hours are often a bit scattered, but, I’m working on that. My partner and I have talked. While I’m not an early bird, I don’t like that I’m split shift sleeping. I don’t know if what I’ll end up doing is sleeping for a bit, getting up to work, then sleeping more. It might mean I can write in a set period of time, I don’t know. The changes though – to make things easier for myself, and the things I want to do, while I’m doing my classes on WordPress design and Fresher’s week for the Open University, I’m going to start setting up all of my blogs, and connecting them up, collapsing or closing those of them that I can’t spend time on right now. It’s not permanent, I hope, but even if it is, moving on isn’t always bad. So I’ll be mapping that out. It’s the first step in about a million, if I’m honest.
I’ve got books, I’ve got information to share out, I’ve got things I need to – and want to – do.
Struggling with WritingOne of the things I saw that was interesting this morning – in fact, it was the first thing I saw opening my phone, was this post from Neil Gaiman. I think there’s a lot of this that’s important. For writers, creatives. For life. We have bad days. We do what we can, but sometimes it’s just a day that doesn’t move…anything. And then, one day, a good day. Maybe a few. Maybe a whole bundle of them, in a row, like a huge gift. And really, I do mean this could be anything we do in life. Sometimes, we find that it’s hard to do things. That’s ok too. I’m between my good and bad right now. On that middle ground of being able to see both. I might slide back into bad. I’m working on the things I can reach from here. It’s all ‘low hanging fruit’ and learning for me. Uni starts next week, and I’m getting through to finish year one of three just as soon as I pick myself up and get a plan on…. Which is next.
You’ve got this guys. And so have I…
There’s a lot I could say right now, but, I’m just going to be honest and say a few things that my new friends coming in from AtoZ might get, and those of you that are my fearless readers probably know about me already.
Mental health is my limiterI wish I could say positive things all the time about my books and stuff, but the reality of my world is I like to present this whirlwind, usually of joy and all sunshine and rainbows. The truth is though, like most people online, I curate my experiences – and in my case, a little more than I should.
I talk about mental health in certain terms, but today, I’m going to talk about it in a different way.
And I guess that’s ok, because there are books coming about it, so I had to do it sooner or later.
But I find the words faltering between my fingers and the keyboard. They’re jamming in my chest in a way – thick in my throat.
And it’s all because I’ve lived with, by level at least, severe mental health issues all of my life. I’m ‘functional’. I look ‘normal’. But as you can see from those quotes, they’re bitter descriptors. Normal and functional are mechanical descriptors I’ve always said ‘normal is the setting on a washing machine’. And it’s because we use words like normal, nominal, functional, functioning, intergrated … as if we all match up against one level, one actual checklist. We don’t. Humans are as varied as snowflakes.
The thing with me is I’m actually a bundle of contradictions. I deal with a set of cognitive dissonances daily because I’m creative and I’m techie, so when I describe this stuff now, it’s always as if I’m describing a computer of sorts. But I’m not. It just puts a bit of distance between myself and the things I’m talking about.
The dissonance though…it comes from, I guess, the normalisation and on the flip side, the stigmatisation of mental health. And of course, I talk about not accepting stigma, that I’m accepting. But it doesn’t change that there’s some internalised stuff that we were raised with. And it becomes a bit of a mess there, which I guess I’ll talk about more, but for now, all I want to do is acknowledge that I’m not acting at my best right now. And while I’m ashamed and feel bad pointing at the fact that I am effectively, severely disabled, there’s…a bit of me that doesn’t like to say that. As if it belittles those living with things I can’t even begin to understand. But it’s true. I have what is considered to be a severe set of mental illnesses. I’m not able to function at my best all the time. I really need to stop being stubborn and trying to pretend I do. It’s not as if people will be mean about it (actually, I also know that not to be true, but the nastiness that comes from talking about this stuff is, by and large, the way I weed people I don’t want in my community out. Not to create an echo chamber, but who in the hell attacks someone for having mental health issues anyway?)
It’s not been an easy yearI know many people can say that. But my year started (well, 15 months really), last January with a septic son (three kidneys, that is an adventure I’ll discuss on my personal blog when I get over all of the fear and lay a few issues I’m still having to work though), then February and his major kidney surgery. We got him through that, and the afternoon his stent came out, we started the first lockdown in the UK. That was, 13 months ago.
The last 13 months has seen me lose friends and family to Covid. And my gran, who was one of the sick and vulnerable due to chonic illness. That was in February, and I’ve soldiered on, because she’d want me to, but I manage a few weeks then break down in a wreck of crying and misery. It’s just not fair to inflict it on people and while I had high hopes for the AtoZ, I did kinda go overboard.
Mistake? Or future posts?I’m being hard on myself calling this a mistake, but for me it is the end of the line. But, the posts I had planned, because I did, on all the blogs I was doing it on, will still appear at some point. Deirdre, at These Our Fandoms and I have discussed it and between feeling bulldozed by vaccines and life (as both of us have had a rough few years), we’ve decided it was too much to do on such short notice, so planning will probably get us through next year.
The rest of this year though? I’ll get the posts up. I’ll be writing up similar posts on the other blogs (even, ironically, my mental health blog) and I think I’ll just spend the rest of the year making new friends and visiting with others, if that’s ok with you?
And the books…?I can’t lie and say I wouldn’t love it if you followed me on my “books” journey. I am writing and reissuing a tonne of them, but if you wish to follow, there’s a lot of places you can – with different levels of engagement for everyone’s comfort. My street team gets my ARCs, everyone gets giveaways, I answer sometimes on social media. You can follow the blog, or Authorinterrupted, when it’s back, you can join me on Twitter, on Facebook, or my street team, or you can subscribe to my newsletter. I’m even on Instagram, though that really is more about what’s behind the books, and my personal life. No matter what, I cherish each and every person that follows me. As to what I write?
Everything. Literally, I’ve got a book for every genre, just about now. My next project, the one I’m going to put the energy I’ll get back, the spoons I’ll retrieve, I guess, from the AtoZ, is a romantic comedy. But I write and love sci-fi, fantasy and all sorts, as the first few blogs showed. Thanks for reading, sorry if I’ve disappointed you by stopping. And good luck if you keep going, I’ll read what I can!
- My AtoZ blogging challenge reveal 2021 #AtoZChallenge
- A for ‘are we there yet?’ #atozchallenge
- B is for Books – Walking off the earth #Finalchapterinthisbook #newbook #atozchallenge
- C is for Can do #atozchallenge
- A day in the disordered #atozchallenge
- E is for “eeek, I overdid it!” #atozchallenge
- F is for f*&k and other profanities #atozchallenge
I wanted to get your attention – what I actually want to talk about is language, but profanities, and our use of them, apparently dictates how linguistically intelligent we are.
Not quite yet…I don’t quite buy into the studies that suggest that if we swear, we’re more intelligent. What I do agree with is if you can express yourself in varied and interesting ways, you are probably more intelligent, so it’s possibly a false indicator, as it was suggested in a 2016 study there was no correlation between profanity and the use of cussing and intelligence, but instead, it’s to do with the wish to extend vocabulary. I’m really interested in linguistics, so I thought that this was a phenomenon I wanted to start talking about it more. So, my quick post today is about swearing, and asking you guys what you think. Do you think it’s a sign of intelligence on it’s own, or do you think it’s more to do with whether you’re working on extending your vocabulary and finding different ways to express things? (also, I’ll be re-releasing ‘The Secret Language of Fiction’ edition 2 soon, watch this space! – well, actually, watch my book announcements page!)
(again, as this is backdated, I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight).
I did actually have this rather neat post about ‘a day in the life’, but, the last few days led to a bit of an epiphany.
You know there’s an Instagram bubble? I think when we write ‘days in the life’ that we sometimes make ‘blog bubbles’. So, instead of talking about what my ideal day should look like, and what it does when I’ve planned it out, I’m going to write about what my day actually is. And for the first time, I’m even going to include some of the mental health stuff I deal with – so this post could be mildly triggering.
I’ll be possibly alluding to self-harm, definitely talking about psychosis and depression and anxiety and insomnia. And I have a favor to ask at the end of this post.
A day in the disordered
I fell asleep at 11:30pm – a year of training and working with an app called Headspace and other meditation apps (honourable mentions to Digipill and Let’s Mediate (I have them on Android, they may exist on iOs), alongside my partner, which is now 80% of how my sleep works out.
Unfortunately, about 1:30am, I wake up again. I wake up to a voice, that I always hear. She’s my constant companion, and she’s very hurtful. If I’m lucky, I take a sip of water, I go to sleep again, and I might get to stay there for a bit. Most nights lately though, I’ve been waking up and finally falling asleep again at 5am.
The advice is, of course, if you’re not able to sleep in bed, to get up. But if I do that and she starts causing trouble for me. At her worst, she can trap me in the smallest rooms in the house. She’s the reason that I can’t get out of the house alone. She’s the thing I’m fighting back with my favor, but we’ll get there.
If I don’t get to sleep until 5 or 6am, I’ll either stay asleep till 8am, or 11am, or sometimes, I’m asleep till 2pm. And because of that, my day is always harder to plan for. How do I plan to be up at 9am, and exercised and ready to work, if I’m not getting to sleep until 6am? The answer is I don’t.
Insomnia is a difficult and hard to live with disorder – couple it with anxiety and psychosis, and though meditation helps, I’m frequently operating in arrears of sleep.
And that’s why I can’t talk about a day in my life. I have half an hour when I wake up that’s a set routine (get up, unplug and box tech coming downstairs with me, plug in anything, such as my Bluetooth headphones or spare batteries that need charged, wash face, rarely moisturise (I’ll be talking about that in S for skin routine, cause apparently, I’m annoying as all hell about that), meditate for ten minutes after making the bed, then come down. At night, I either go up before Tempus and grab a bath, then make my juice/waterbottle for my bedside, plug everything in, brush my teeth, get my Bluetooth headphones connected so that I can meditate, set up the book we’re listening to on Audible. Depending on how I feel then, I either read for 20 minutes, then meditate, or lately, I’ve just meditated, and used a sleepscape to go to sleep to. And then wake up again at 1:30am.
I can’t talk about this really here, but there is going to be an I for Insomnia over on bi-polarbears (the link won’t work until the post goes live )
And that brings me to a favor…
As many of you may or may not know, I’m an author. My major project this year is to talk about the fact that I live with a pretty severe (though not the worst, by a long shot) psychosis. I think I’m probably at the end of the ‘living in the community level of it,’ though, she’s quite hard to deal with. As an author too, it becomes difficult. I ‘hear’ my characters, and I don’t like that I hear and see things as well as part of my mental health.
On my birthday, I’ll be releasing a collection of mental health books. I’m not putting up the pre-orders yet, but I am asking people to subscribe to my newsletter, so I can start talking about the run-up to releasing them.
There may be a Patreon, there may not.
What I want to do though, is to remove some stigma surrounding both hearing voices and other psychosis, but I also want to acknowledge that authors do hear voices, and that *is not* as far as I’m concerned, is a psychosis. But I guess that’s between you and your healthcare team.
What I do know is that she’s stolen five years of my life. I’ll never get them back, and while I’ve done some things in there, I’ve not gotten everything that I wanted to do, done. There are other things, of course, that got in the way, it’s not just been mental health, but if I can remove from the whole concept of ‘we don’t talk about this, we’ll get into trouble’, then I will.
And I hope you’ll help me.
If you’d like to, ALL I need you to do is to sign up for my newsletter and join my mental health street team. That’s it. If you also want to share this post or the post about the project, I’d be delighted.
I’ll be talking about about this at P for Psychosis, because it’s important to me. Here, and at Bi-polarbears. I’ve avoided telling people I have issues such as psychosis for so many years, that it’s a bit uncomfortable for me, but I also know I’m in a good community, that accepts me for who I am, and knows me as I am, psychosis or otherwise. I hope to help others like me – because I think in the coming years, as we come out of lockdowns and the shadows of what we did to deal with the pandemic, that mental health is going to be a major issue – more major than even now, and I want to help people that need help. So I am.
A few of the topics
A is for Amara (Snowblind)
A is also for Apocalypse
B is for Black Monday
C is for Challenges
D is for Darkness
E is for Elliot …
(and so on)…
It’s not going to be the complete everything of my books, but it’ll be a nice reboot for BooksbyKai and it will be amazing to talk to people about all of my writing stuff. Even if some of it is going to be difficult, but challenges are part of the fun, right?