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!