On Not Being Able to Function

In the spirit of mental health awareness week, I wanted to write a post about how my brain has [not] been working lately, in the hopes of starting a discussion and minimising the stigma attached to such topics.

I had been planning to write a reading and writing update, first, though. I’ve been planning that post since January, but I especially wanted to push forward with it now since A. it’s been FOUR(!) months in coming and B. I wanted a break from the heavy topics I’ve been discussing on this blog recently.

The thing is, I am so stressed out I haven’t been able to push ahead and just finish it. I know logically that it’s such a simple thing, but it’s like I’ve got a mental block when it comes to even thinking about work.

As you’ll probably be able to tell from the posts I shared at the end of last year/start of this year, my mind has been all over the place. I’ve been trying to rest and breathe and work through that but, honestly, the issues are still not fully resolved.

I don’t know where burnout from client work ends and burnout from being a carer begins, they are inextricably linked at this point, but I do know I simply can’t keep the client work up. I feel awful about having agreed to take on projects that I now don’t have the time or headspace to complete, but I think I’m going to have to face facts and tell my clients where I’m at. I’ve been avoiding it. Been avoiding so much, and it’s only been making me feel worse. I just feel panicked, like I need to escape from everything RIGHT NOW or else.

Today I unpublished my business Facebook page and I’ve redirected my business website over here to this author site. I’m doing everything I can to just get by with my sanity intact.

To those of you reading this who think I’m being overdramatic, maybe I am. I often doubt myself when it comes to these things. But even if I’m not drowning, it certainly feels like it.

A Mental Health Issue

After I wrote my previous blog post, I decided to cut myself off from social media – cold turkey. The theory was that it was a distraction holding me back from writing. Not a crazy theory, really. But in the few days that I’ve been offline, have I managed any more time for writing? No. No, I have not. Pretty much the first thing I did was have a major energy crash. Then I was hit with some stressful personal stuff, and then I had to pick myself up and get back on with life – housework, business stuff, wedding stuff.

I’ve said before that I do a lot, and that I’m really hard on myself, but I think I’ve come to realize just how bad that is. I am getting married in a week, I should not be stressing about my novel. The last thing I need is more pressure.

I mean, yes, it has been frustrating me for a very long time how long it’s taking me to get this novel down and out into the world, but novels take time. It’s a fact of life.

For some people they take more time, and for some people they take less time, but for everyone they take time. Why should I expect myself to be one of the people who can power through a first draft in a week? It’s nuts, and it’s not helpful. I think, actually, it’s the opposite of helpful.

That’s a thing that has been more clear to others than myself, it seems, as I’ve been told to consider coaching, counseling, and – y’know – taking an actual break.

I’ve just had so much going on in my head, and my life (did I mention I’m sick on top of all this?), I was too busy to stop and really take in what I was hearing. Maybe being away from Facebook and Twitter has helped me with that if nothing else. But I’m listening now. I’m breathing.

I still want to focus on my writing, but mostly I am breathing.

I’m going to enjoy my wedding and my honeymoon. I have it on good authority that the world will not end if I do. My book will be waiting for me when I get back.

Over the past month I’ve gone from up to down to round and round and back up down and round again. Maybe it’s winter getting to me again. I realized in Autumn 2016 that the lack of sunlight affects me a lot more than I’d previously realized. And, outside of that, I’ve always been very… ‘moody’ isn’t the best way to describe it. It’s more like a minor case of bi-polar disorder, truth be told. There are highs where I think I can do everything, but there are mostly lows in which I beat myself up about not meeting the ridiculous standards I set for myself while I was on top of the world.

I’m sorry if documenting that journey here and across Facebook and Twitter has made anyone else’s head spin and/or made you worried about me. My partner has been very good at talking me through so much of this. And I’d like to say I have it all figured out and am all better now, but no one is ever all better for good.

I’m okay for now, though, and that’s enough.

Still writing, still breathing. Also taking breaks.

The Run-Up to Reading

Before I take part in an event – big or small – my nerves are on edge. I feel sick, and flighty, and weepy.

…so, that’s me, pretty much now-ish. My reading at Women Aloud NI is happening TOMORROW!

Situation clearly dire, I just had to run out for a stack of emergency chocolate (don’t eat your feelings, kids!). And I made myself so flustered that I almost said thank you to the cashier, completely forgetting that I’d just used a self-serve till :-/

Now, seeing as it took me six attempts and three Google searches to spell the word dire correctly, I’m gonna go eat said chocolate and have a little cry to myself.

How are you this evening?

Depression and Writing and Me

It’s been quite a while since I burst into tears for no apparent reason, but tonight I did. Sometimes that’s what depression is like – it hits you out of nowhere. And sometimes it’s just this thing in the background that is on your radar, but no one else has any awareness of it in your life.

Depending on how it affects you (and it does affect people differently) it can really get in the way of ‘normal life’. It can be hard to hold down a job, for example, when things are really bad.

I’m lucky that I work for myself and can arrange my own schedule, to compensate for and work around those days where I’m just not up to it.

Writing in itself usually helps me feel better, but some days it doesn’t work and I can’t compose a coherent tweet let alone work on anything more substantial.

I wanted to write a post for mental health week, but this isn’t the one I imagined. I guess I wanted to be more factual. To come across more professional. But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? My writing is an extension of who I am. And today who I am is a little bit of a mess. Not everything has to be perfect, I remind myself. In fact, some things are probably better being raw. So this is it: my personal experience of being a full time writer with mental health issues. It’s not profound, or polished, but it’s here. I encourage you to tell your story, also. No matter what it looks like.

The Need for a PA

I’ve been stressed these past two days. Very stressed, actually, and it doesn’t help that I’m not feeling well. (When am I ever feeling well? I ask myself.) There’s a lot of unexpected paperwork needing done, and right now I feel like all of my energy is tied up in trying to be a human person. (No doubt other sufferers of depression will understand that one.) So I often think to myself how great it would be, to have a personal assistant. Except that’s not the real daydream. What I would really like? To be appointed as my own PA, which I guess I already am, but to have someone else live the life bits of life for me. I’ll do the book-keeping and business emails if someone else can keep the eating, sleeping, and social engagements going in a regular pattern. Deal?