Thinking Writing Ninja


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+/-4 Standard Deviations

This has been a really odd day. It started off being crappy, and I was going to make a big long post talking about my lots of mental health issues. And then – well, okay, I’m still going to do a bit of that. But at the end, lots of useful, awesome stuff happened, and I feel like the Universe just said “So now you’ve FINALLY acknowledged the whole list of your issues, I’m going to send you some tools to help you solve them.”

Thanks, Universe. No, I actually really meant that. 

But okay, let’s go back to the beginning. So my week has been an everything-but-average week: lots of awesome, thank-god-finally sorts of things happened, and I felt good about them, and I also felt pretty depressed and stuff. And when I say I felt really depressed, I don’t mean the kind of “I hate my sorry ass and leaving this blanket is too hard so I’m going to stay in my pyjamas all day and scavenge instead of cooking” days* I mean more like “I’m really on edge and DO THINGS but really scared of doing things and I feel like crap and also like bouncing and possibly bursting into tears and throwing things.”

I am not a psychologist, or any kind of professional, but I am smart enough to figure out that this (which has lasted for…like…a week and a half? ImageAnd has been getting steadily less Apathy and more Hyper) bears more than a passing resemblance to a classic bipolar mixed episode. I went to my GP with severe, uncontrollable mood swings when I was 14/15 and he said I had PMS and put me on the pill, which made me suicidal. And then there was nothing, and every time I mentioned my weird brain to my mother she would “reassure me” that I was normal. 

Yeah, I don’t think so. 

So anyway, I was feeling really unsettled and stuff earlier, so I just sat down and typed out the current contents of my brain onto a word document. My brain went waaaay faster than my typing (and I type pretty damn fast) and stuff kept getting stuck, but it ended up being guttingly honest. I wrote down for the first time the words “I hate myself”. I wrote about how my brain today seems to be “depression on speed”. I wrote about my unhelpful thoughts about eating and my body (long suppressed) which seem to be coming back, and how pathetic and useless and stupid I feel, and how scared I am that no doctor or psych person will take me seriously.

I have a counselling appointment on monday. But the last time I had a counsellor they just asked me a lot about how exactly my anxiety manifested, and whether I’d been bullied, when I hadn’t even got a chance to tell them about my soulsucking depressive moments or DO ALL THE THINGS obsessive ones. Also I’ve been told a lot that there’s nothing wrong with me and I should just stop whining and get on with life like a normal person – including by some doctors. The contents of what I wrote scared me, and I thought “wow, if someone else showed that to me, I’d ask them how recently they’d seen their psychiatrist.” 

And then of course Kaitie read it and her response was basically “I kindof knew all this, also you know that I love you and will support you, right?” And that was the start of my day’s turnaround. I am loved. I don’t understand why, but I guess that’s tough, because I am anyway. 

So I sat down on my laptop to read Captain Awkward, who is fantastic and awesome, and I was reading about how people get around their Jerkbrain** long enough to get out of bed and to work on time. Now all of this was super-helpful, but I also found a link to a woman whose method of dealing with her Jerkbrain is to talk compassionately to it. She says she finds that the bits of your brain that are being mean to you are trying to protect you, but they were made when you were young and sad and scared, so they don’t always go about it in the best way until you start talking to them. ImageCrazy? A bit. Worth a shot? Definitely, particularly as a writer who’s used to active dialogue with her characters. Sounds kinda fun. 

From there, I was linked to http://www.fluentself.com, which seems to pretty much be The Home Of My People. They’re all about Getting Better At Stuff, Finding Out How To Be The Awesomest You Possible, and doing this all with fun and kooky-yet-effective strategies and other such things which…yeah. As my ninjutsu instructor said on my first lesson, “I think you’re gonna fit in around here.”***

 

So all in all this day has been lots of gains despite how crap I was feeling earlier: I now have a much better handle on what my mental health issues actually look like, I have discovered that the world does not end if I write honestly about them, and I have also found loads of new coping strategies to try and like-minded folks to talk about them with. Though I didn’t get much actual concrete stuff done today, I’m going to put this one down as a win. And hope sincerely that I can get to sleep because I am WIRED and tomorrow is busy. 

Ninja hugs, 

Roisin

*I had a few of those. Like a week of them. Very little got done, and it sucked, but it is now over.
**A Jerkbrain is that bit of your brain that tells you you’re stupid and useless, and you shouldn’t get up because it’s scary and you’ll fail anyway, and stuff.
***he demonstrated a technique, the guy being demonstrated on made a hilarious pain face, and I giggled. 

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Get Better At Stuff: Life Stuff and Chi Kung

So, I seem to have had a small success: a day where I did some useful chore-like things, and had some time playing Alice: Madness returns, and have arrived at the end of the day not thinking “oh god, I have to do that again tomorrow?”

ImageI’m not sure if the citalopram-induced apathy (which has, I think, been a big problem this past week) is lifting or if my walk to the bus stop in the snow just cheered me up loads but either way, I visited the job centre, made some tasty food, and did some dishes and laundry. This morning while I was heading to the job centre, lots of anxiety somehow managed to get through the fog of “I don’t care about anything, no seriously, even my pain responses are dead”, which probably just means that it was a metric fuckton of anxiety.

Still, they were nice and gave me a backdated claim form because it’s their fault I haven’t had Jobseeker’s Allowance for the past month. Need to fill it in and post it tomorrow – I’m trying not to worry about that too much now. I can worry about it tomorrow, when I really ought to be going to the doctor to get a repeat for my citalopram and talk about my insomnia, which is better but not cured and feels like it might come back at any time.

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Yes, I stand in my bedroom looking something like this. Only normally I’m wearing my pink dressing gown with monkeys on it.

I even did my chi kung. I’ll talk about it more in another post, but it’s much like tai chi – slow, flowing movements with deep breathing that are sort of like meditation in motion, and it helps relieve tension, strengthen muscles, and promote good circulation and lymphatic flow, all without any sweating or high-impact movement. Which is good for me since I’m not all that well and though I used to run, I think trying one right now would wipe me out for the rest of the day*. Anyway, it makes me feel – not energetic exactly, but awake and alive and capable of going about my day**.

Anyway I’m really happy cause I seem to be getting better at it, an the better you are at it the more benefit you get. See? I *really like* positive feedback loops. I hope tomorrow is a good day, for me and anyone reading this.

Ninja Hugs,

Roisin

*And as a bonus you won’t ruin your knees or tear any ligaments. 

**Do normal people feel like this all the time?


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Get Better At Stuff: Self-Care

So far today, I’ve made flapjacks. I cancelled that Doctor’s appointment I made, and I’m sitting in bed on my laptop with a hot water bottle. Why? Well, I feel like arse today, and I’m trying an experiment: what if, when I feel crap, I give myself permission to do only a bare minimum of things, and just rest? 

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For everyone who’s thinking, “but isn’t that what normal people do when they feel crap?” either the answer is no,

 or I’m not normal. Though given the statistics for anxiety, I’m probably in good company. You see, what I *used* to do when I felt crap was drag my ass out of bed, force myself to do All The Things, beat myself up when I inevitably didn’t finish my to do list, and collapse into bed feeling like a failure and worrying about how behind I’m getting. 

Yep. Really productive in the long term. Particularly for someone who’s only just regenerated up to 50% of full HP*. 

It turns out that self-care is *hard*, particularly for someone who thinks that HMRC will turn up on her doorstep and shout at her if the kitchen is dirty or something**. But self-care isn’t just about not doing things that you don’t have the spoons for – it’s about doing things that will help you to feel better, both now and later***. Maybe a hot bath will loosen your muscles and help you relax, or working on an art project will improve your skills, de-stress you, and make you feel accomplished. 

Me, I’m going to meditate. Image

I used to be pretty regular with it, but I fell out of the habit this past month. I guess I thought I had more important stuff to do, like laundry. End result? Yep, I’m more anxious, and my productivity has fallen. 

I find the timing myself/deciding what to do parts of meditation are a bit of a deterrent – gods save me from anxiety loops – so I’m going to be lazy and do guided meditation. I love the http://www.meditainment.com set of guided meditations, and there’s a free one called The Secret Garden which is one of my favourites. It’s read by a woman who has a british accent and the world’s most soothing voice. They’re only 20 minutes or so long, so it’s hardly a time sink.

Right. Let’s get started. I’ll let you know how I’m doing. 

Ninja hugs, 

Roisin

*gaming metaphor. I make no apologies.

**HMRC probably won’t. My parents might. Or maybe my flatmate, or the postman, or something. It’s a legitimate fear, honest!

***”sleep” is an allowed answer to this question.