Tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to my temple, called Goddess Falls. It’s known as another name in Edinburgh, but I’ll be taking my lightsaber with me in the morning.
Travelling, thinking, going homeWe’re hoping that we get to go (so, either this’ll be going out as I’m on the road – in fact, I should be just getting to our end destination), and my tradition is to think and write and make notes, and hope that nothing goes wrong while I’m out of touch. Maybe do a bit of crochet, which I’m teaching myself. Mostly though, today is a holiday. So Joyous Yule, may the wheel bless you as it turns, if you celebrate. And Merry Christmas/Happy holidays too!
And books?Every week, I talk about putting out books, about editing, but I’ve been slow. Really slow, so I’ll keep trying but honestly? Pressure has never been my friend, but I’ve got to start moving on with my books. So, I’ll be thinking about that too while travelling. We’ve got little TV trays for our knees, so I’ll be travelling with one of them, my diaries, and my surface. Just in case. Going home though… it is in my bones. I’m a Gaelic gal to the core, to the point that I feel home in my very soul. I bring a little bit of it back every year for my shrine.
Today also marks the 25th year of being a standing High Priestess. Solitary, but still… it means this year I think I’ll be talking about my beliefs, my dreams, and what I’m doing it with my books to honour that stuff.
But…regardless. I hope your Christmas period is good. I hope you see those you love. I hope you get to spend time with your family. I’ll be taking time out with mine.
It started in 2002 actually…In 2002, while I was writing after breaking off ties with someone I’d been working with, and working on some pretty difficult stuff, someone told me about Nanowrimo. At the time, my ex and I were still together, and though everyone thought we were ok – I mean, my daughter was a year old, we had a three year old son. But he was pretty convinced that I shouldn’t be allowed to write, that if I was going to manage it, I’d have written that bestseller. Already.
He wasn’t a bad man – we have two amazing children, but neither he nor I were not good for one another. Between 2002 and 2003, we seperated.
Fast forward to 2003Single, unhappy and lonely, I decided that I would take my mum up on her offer, and I vollunteered to run as an ML…for the whole of Scotland as it happened then. We all met in a very loud pub, I made lots of friends, and discovered a gaming club called GEAS. 2003’s Nano was also Glass Block. And Elliot Peters firmly entrenched himself in my life.
Elliot is Glass Block. Eventually, when the library of posts comes back online, that’ll make more sense, but he’s one of my backlist books. Tomorrow, he goes to an editor for update before we re-release him, thanks to my beloved’s help.
In 2003 though, I hadn’t even met him. Instead, I had Elliot, waking me up at 4am and telling me stories. Y’see, Elliot thinks of me as a confessor of sorts. And Internal Affairs as he’s a cop. As I live with psychosis of several kinds, this is completely normal to me, but I know some people find it uncomfortable that my characters are really real. Others aren’t. It’s ok.
I was seven months from my other ‘leading man’, Farran. Five or so from Tempus. And I quite honestly had a ball during Nano. Honorable mentions at this point to John, James, Gregor, and everyone else I met during those months of writing. You all made my Nanowrimo so much fun, and in fact, that was true for the whole time I helped out and ran Scotland as the ML.
I did promise you a love story, didn’t I?Well, the truth of the matter is, and it’s a story I’ve told several times, without Nano, I wouldn’t have gone to GEAS, and in all likleyhood, Tempus and I wouldn’t have met. I can’t actually say that for sure, because I might have taken it into my head to look into D&D again, but… I’d given in on that having my kids. Tempus and I have been together 17 and a half years. We origonally just decided we wanted to hang out and have a bit of fun, but…a year in, when it came down to actually thinking about the future, neither of us could actually picture a time without one another. By 2006, we’d moved to where we are based now for his work, as he’d graduated in 2005. 2007-2011, Uni for me.
It’s not all happily ever after. My mental health is a challenge we meet with varying success, but he and I share many interests (newest one, solving our arguments with lightsabers, aka we’re both going to train and learn Ludosport.). It’s no secret we’re both gamers, and we’re both super geeky, but we do have enough divergent interests that we can be together or apart. But, I truly believe I was lucky, and that Nanowrimo plays a huge part in that for me. Our love story isn’t over. I don’t believe it ever will be while either of us are here, but it’d be nice to think that we’ll have a child together and live long, happy lives together. I really do love him, and without Nanowrimo, who knows if I’d have had this chance. You’ll note, I don’t refer to him other than ‘Tempus’. It’s because he’s not keen on talking about himself online. There are a very few pictures of us together, and I’ve added on to the bottom of this post, but I do know one thing.
My life is a very good one, and I love that it’s with him. This is me and him, 2018, in the Dominican Republic. The full length shot of me with a boogie board was taken about an hour before, for those that know it. He’s my bad idea bear, my beloved, my companion, my gaming and sparring partner. We talk books, games, movies. We tell each other jokes and pass on research from cyber security and infosec, and have a date night every Saturday. We go exploring good places to eat, we giggle at one another playing Fallout 76. We have our friends over for Gloomhaven. We’ve raised two wonderful young adults together since the 20 year old (@artenapan) was about 2 1/2, and her older brother too (he’s just as private as Tempus in many ways, so you’ll see him referred to as ‘Wonderboy’, or Titanboi. He’s in his 20’s too, and a wonderful man, and all of us are gamers of one sort or another.
But Tempus… He’s the best person in the world, and I’m so blessed. And, one final, bonus fact. He’s the reason I have most of my pen name. He encouraged me to stay as Kai when I explained why I’d changed my name, and I did. In late 2004, after we’d been together for a few months, I asked him if I could use his last name so that when we get married, I didn’t need to rebrand. He didn’t even blink. Like I said, he’s an awesome guy.
And that’s my Nanowrimo Love Story ?
(backdated, sorry I was late! It does mean I get to use pretty photos I got on Sunday though!)
Well, sort of.
I’m actually more of the ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” which is another truism I believe in.
But, when it comes to my mental health, I can’t make excuses. I have to keep healthy boundaries, and work hard. There is no ‘try’ at living after all.
But it’s not easy…
The thing about trying to have a ‘can do’ attitude, in the context that I use it, is that it’s almost always about protecting myself. And it’s all about protecting, I guess, the spoons that I have. (In case you’re not sure what the spoon theory is, here’s the woman that wrote the base idea, and I am republishing my spoonie’s guide soon). ANd not always having the energy to do something is not the same as ‘there is no try’, and I think that’s the mistake many people make about what I mean.
If I can’t do something, I’ll wait. Unless I have no choice.
One of the things I started noticing about a year and a half ago, when I started having a few of the things explained to me that made no sense in my life while asking questions and hitting issues with my therapy, that I’m very much of the mindset that (probably unfairly) that if I say no, that my friends won’t like me. I’m very much a people pleaser, to the point that I often do things I shouldn’t. And it’s gotten me into a really difficult pattern to break.
So, my ‘do or do not’ is a complete sentence now. I will do, or I won’t. There’s no emotion attached to it if I can’t do the things I’ve had asked of me. I might feel guilty about saying no, but I can’t always do everything I want to (and as I’m actually writing this on my E day, I’ve already talked about planning fails, I know this). And if they don’t like it, I guess that means my friends aren’t actually my friends. And that might make me sad, but I’ve got to accept that. Luckily, it means that I’ll be ok.
(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.