Promenade

newtype1
‘Why do you write?’

Sometimes, it is compulsion: a injustice observed, moment recalled or future imagined. Often the urge strikes at an inopportune moment. It’s why a notepad and pencil have more significance than transcribing into the Cloud or dictating into an iPhone. Whilst fingers can grasp an implement, the default is always a pencil, making it easier to correct mistakes. There are many in those initial moments. Then there’s my keyboard, copy of an old style typewriter, to remind of the days that was the only option when creating formal work.

newtype4
‘What do you write about?’

Everything is up for debate, nothing beyond the remit. Once upon a time, for about thirty years, poetry was evil and impossible to fathom, but with patience and thought that fear is now overcome. I dealt with learning difficulties and social dysfunction via blogging, granting a freedom of expression that remains a constant joy to manipulate. It’s also a source of amusement to observe the interpretations of what gets written. Those loved the most in that regard grasp that writing, like most forms of expression, is supposed to offer at least some level of ambiguity unless you’re told otherwise…

newtype2
‘What does writing mean to you?’

Words are my salvation, and my Kryptonite. To be able to express myself is the greatest joy and freedom that has ever been granted in my half a century on the Planet. This is not about a massive follower count or critical acclaim, because neither of those will ever grant the same joy as a well-written story or the blog post that truly expresses my feelings. When those words fail me, inability to express what ails or distracts, it is as if I’ve been struck down. The incapability to write, once destroyed, brings relief that cannot ever be appreciated enough.

newtype5

‘What is your favourite writing form?’

Blogging (literally) saved my life when all other effective forms of communication had failed, so to admit a soft spot for just being able to write ‘today I woke up and felt happy’ probably ranks quite highly. However, the storytelling aspects of the craft are where the real satisfaction increasingly lies. There’s been an extension of that into photography too in the last couple of years, and that media degree in my twenties might yet have some actual use going forward.

newtype3

‘What advice would you get to start people writing?’

Routine and practice, as is the case in most pursuits, will garner real returns. However, for some people the ability to do this daily can end up stifling creativity, so the better path inevitably includes finding a routine that suits your lifestyle. Write everything down. Planning in advance will help, especially if you’re writing a massive fantasy epic from scratch. The best advice of all however is be you, especially in blogging. An audience will invest in your life far more readily than you will realise, and the more that is given… that’s up to you. All of this, ultimately, is in your hands.

Walk Away

I’ve decided, after being diagnosed with a chest infection, to take a short break from daily posting. I will still be working on Short Stories during this time, and hope to have the first completed for publication on Friday.

Normal scheduled content will continue to be posted on Twitter.

Hopefully, I’ll be all better by the end of the week ❤

Falling Down

Yesterday, I put back my weightlifting ambitions by an indeterminate period of time. The injuries sustained to both hands and my left elbow won’t be properly obvious until swelling has gone down, which could take up to a couple of weeks (knowing how my body reacts to these circumstances generally.) The fact this was my own fault? Totally incidental, in the wider scheme of things. What matters now is far more important: how mentally capable am I with coping with consequence?

alligator

All the positivity in the world will not prepare you for the situation where circumstances go out of your hands. However strong you think you are, there are moments when you will be forced to think of things you never thought would be an issue. For most of us, losing a loved one or someone close is that circumstance in its most raw and unpleasant form. Everybody dies, it’s a fact of life, but when and how that happens becomes at least in part a testament to the person themselves.

It is how you live during the days you have that will ultimately become the remembrance others hold when you are gone. This is what drives me now not to waste days, but do the most that is possible with them, as often as possible. It means that despite having knackered an arm, my legs still work. So, time to get on the bike and making exercise count, whilst doing my best to promote healing. Then, once I get to the Physio next Tuesday, we will see where we are.

I’ve not told my trainer yet either.

cyclingdog.gif

When all is said and done, this is a First World Problem. It’s not a threat to health, it’ll all sort itself out eventually, and I should be grateful for the fact nothing long-term or bad is likely to come of the incident. In fact, the last few days have been a wake-up call for a lot of issues in my life that are frankly non-existent when placed beside others genuine and heart-wrenching problems. The trick should be to just cope with everything without having to talk about it. My husband keeps telling me that I overshare far more than is sometimes healthy.

Should I really be blogging about this as a result?

It’s a fine line; there are many things I could share but don’t, personal issues that never see the light of day. Often there are real-life dramas that should never make it to public consumption, especially when related to my kids. Overall, there has to be confidence that what is shared is the right stuff, and isn’t negatively impacting anything. I’d like to think by now I grasp the balance. However, it is always best to keep asking, checking and adjusting stance. Maybe the next time I do that I won’t trip up over my own feet.

Next time, let’s hope I learn from this mistake.

The Best Kept Secret

These are the dark days for a Depressive’s soul, the long, grey bleh that extends and contracts around freezing temperatures and half-hearted attempts to snow. In the midst of all this, I had a fight with my son, and in one of those moments of stupidity that often happen when you’re a parent, I said with 100% confidence ‘If you do this, I will never get angry ever again.‘ He laughed at me, and suddenly I realised that this is all I’ve been since June, at least when it comes to the moments I’m down and the world exposes my frailties. For all that encouragement and positivism that I spout elsewhere, I am still unbelievably angry at so many things.

Now in the darkness of Winter days where there’s nothing but the next grey morning to look forward to, that’s beginning to interfere with my ability to adequately function as a human being, and I need to find a way to fix it. The question now becomes how I do this and find a way to write creatively again, because I’ve been trying for weeks and nothing has happened. Yeah, I can produce words on a daily basis as the need arises, but my imagination seems to be broken. There’s not even anything forthcoming on the Treadmill either, instead I’m listening to old playlists and happy to lose myself in narratives past.

I know what I need to do, I just can’t find a way to make it happen.

dontevencare.gif

The thing is, of course, I say I don’t care but I do now more than I have at any point in the past. I don’t want to disconnect with this new reality either, I have to know what’s going on around me as a matter of some significance, to understand what the World actually means now rather than losing myself inside largely irrelevant ‘alternate’ realities. Plus I get really very cross at people who don’t seem to grasp how the Planet is potentially going to shit because they’re still largely obsessed with their own petty battles or bugbears. Somewhere, I am now grasping, a quantum shift took place in my psyche. I’ve not felt this depressed for quite some time, and amazingly it’s nothing to do with all the pointless, irrelevant issues that previously caused me to become unhappy.

This is the stuff that I can do nothing about and which is out of my hands: global warming, injustice, racial intolerance and general mindless stupidity. Of course, I can in my own way try and fight all these things, and I am making significant inroads into changing the world around me. I’m also becoming incredibly good at stopping other people’s attempts to mislabel me, or try and draw me into arguments I never started. I am developing communication skills that I never had a year ago, and I am very pleased at my ability now to simply shake my head, get up and walk away from a screen and not come back until I know I can be an adult. However, when the environment turns against me as it did yesterday and I have nowhere else to go?

Today made me realise there is an awful lot of work still needing to be done.

nobodycares4.gif

The key, it now appears to me, is prioritising the significance of what I can change and what needs to be ignored in my Brain. It also involves eliminating a number of sources of stress from the equation and, I suspect, prioritisation of what is important on a day to day basis. I’m getting very good at scheduling, and this needs to be expanded with the short form tasks, and maybe I can go so far as starting to write stuff for the next day the night before. Honestly, it doesn’t matter when a lot of my daily output gets written, just that I keep myself at at pace that means the process of writing is having a positive effect. Then I need to schedule time to write fiction and make it happen, even if I am writing crap. That’s the plan starting on Monday, the hope being this will kick start the way forward.

It also occurs to me that I could do some investigation over why everything is making me so cross, and that this in turn might help me identify means by which I can start enjoying myself again. I hear the Internet is an excellent place to do such research. That’s tonight’s bedtime reading, and before then I’m going to attempt to lose myself in online gaming and making little pixels do stuff that I may not totally enjoy right now, but which certainly counts as relaxation. For the first time in many years, it’s not the gaming that causes the stresses, but everything that isn’t. That’s another realisation that just pushes me to go fix the problem before the grey malaise takes over everything and I end up going backwards with food and exercise. There were hints of this today, and I can’t let it happen.

I’ve come too far now to be poleaxed by my own psyche.

Writing as Therapy :: Depression [1]

This has been a tough write.

When I decided I wanted to try and describe my depression in a blog post, the problem should have been easily solvable. After all, I’m a writer: that should allow me a measure of ability to describe the feelings I experience, right? I’ve spent a VERY long time attempting to get a handle around the right words. Finally, I think I’m there.

Close your eyes.

Imagine, when you do, shrinking as the world around you grows, and suddenly you are tiny against the place you sit. There is a terrible and inescapable sense of helplessness: everything is so utterly far away you can’t reach, too high to scale or so deep you’d hurt yourself should you fall down. Nobody can hear you. In fact, the only sound is the blood, pounding in your own ears as the fear rises to consume you. You are nothing.

Nobody cares.

cropped-background_a.png

It’s been a while since I’ve had an episode like that but I can remember the last one, horrible bitterness in my mouth, lying on the sofa at 4am while the family slept upstairs, knowing full well that there were people who loved me and were relying on my strength. Understanding your significance to others makes a lot of difference, allowing self-worth an opportunity to be nurtured and grow. However, unless you’ve ever been consumed by your own blackness, I can’t ever make you really understand just how terrible it is. The words might describe the darkness, but they can’t convey the terror and loneliness that actually hurts. Worse than childbirth, or the loss of a loved one, at least for me.

Enough to make you totally and utterly numb.

That’s the real horror, for someone who’s always lived their life in highs and lows. Feeling nothing is just so amazingly, horrendously awful. Not being able to write, unable to express anything and simply just to exist in a grey, dull World. To watch others having an amazing time and simply to sit without any reaction at all. Oddly, there will be those people who’d argue that’s one of the reason why drugs are so important, that the noise and fuss of the world is often too much to bear. I don’t need to have ‘normal’ emotional states, I’ve always lived at the extremes to begin with. I don’t want quiet, I feed on noise and feeling.

cropped-background_a.png

I’ve never taken anything for my issues and actually, I’m glad that remains the case.

 

What writing granted me, back in the dark days after my daughter was born, was a voice I’d forgotten existed. It had been me as mum with my son and pretty much nothing else for several years, all the focus on being a better parent and not worrying about the person I’d been before he and she were born. The balance was all wrong, and being able to exist as a character in a video game who could be what they wished without responsibility was exactly what I needed. Mostly, I could open my eyes and not be as afraid of what happened when the dark feelings came.

Even how it is difficult to describe what went on during that time with confidence. Memories are hard to pin down, only the flashpoints remain, pain and anger when I’d get cross at myself, when I’d overreact, and then try and hide. Then there’d just be the numbness and inability to move out of the same spot, to even leave the house on certain days. That still plagues me from time to time, I’ll be honest, but now it happens very rarely, but there are panic attacks in places I am uncomfortable in. I had one on holiday, as it happens, but with my husband’s help got through it. It still happens.

I just have to learn to cope. Some days are better than others.

 

Only Myself To Blame

A cautionary tale.

This is part of a three post series for Time To Talk Day in the UK.

This morning, I’ve just spent an hour or so having a conversation with someone that shouldn’t have been done on Twitter. On reflection, 140 characters is woefully inadequate for the subject matter, and there’s so many other discussions from this one start point that have been ignited. The problem with Twitter, and there is one, is that 140 characters aren’t enough to define real intent. That’s why the company’s actively looking at extending the character limit: not simply to allow advertisers and news gatherers more chance to explain, but because when you have to be brief, so much is left unsaid. The bigger issue however isn’t just the medium’s fault: you can’t blame a communication company for their product when you yourself are misinterpreted.

That’s nobody’s fault but your own.

Yeah, well you say *that*…

Having virtual conversations is as hard as doing real ones, and there’s so much else you have to factor into the equation. For instance, if you don’t know someone well and you start a dialogue, and then one of you uses a word that means one thing to them but something quite different to you? The intent is going to be quite seriously skewed. I’ve had that happen to me more times now online than I care to remember: a word I consider innocuous becomes a racial slur, a definition for me becomes a sexual identifier for another. When you have contact which such a diverse and intellectually vast range of individuals, there’s a whole minefield out there even if you speak the same language. What you don’t get with Twitter is the back-story, depth to the front, and this only tends to surface when a contentious subject rises, or you cross areas of intellectual conflict. Often, you never realise until it’s too late: that joke in the week about Republicans for instance didn’t go down too well in certain sectors of my timeline, but in fairness that would have become an issue eventually. Here’s the more significant point: over time, using social media, you can actually get a sense of someone, and as you do, it will become apparent whether the ‘relationship’ you have will work or not. Once you grasp that sense, then you’re able to decide how to proceed.

However, and this is crucial, you must know you’re as much to blame for drama if and when it occurs as the other person.

Sorry Cher, but it’s the truth.

However blameless (or clueless) you might claim to be when drama erupts around you, you’re really not. You can feel free to invent theories and decide you know what Person B is thinking or doing, but unless you actually talk to them and find out? It’s all supposition, theory, and even if you didn’t say a word to start the current flashpoint something you’ve done weeks ago could easily have fuelled the fire. Sometimes the drama itself is enough for you to finally take a stand and remove that person from your feed/life once and for all, and if this is what happens then really, truthfully, that’s no bad thing. The reason why I’m writing this for Time to Talk day is that’s how I finally realised that actually, I needed help, and I couldn’t keep blaming other people for my own failings. It wasn’t either fair or right to do so, when the same things kept happening and the single contributing factor was my behaviour. There’s only so long you can go making other people the reason for your drama. Eventually, if you are hiding from yourself, there has to be a reckoning. When you finally accept that you are as much to blame as everyone else you choose to attack?

Many things will simply change for the better.

DON’T START.

Living with people is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you its not and those people who seem to be able to just sail through life regardless? You’d be surprised how difficult it is for them. Often these are the people who we rely on: parents, carers, hard working people who can’t vocalise their feelings as well as the mouthy, gobby ones who seem to spend their entire existences making noise. Everyone deserves to be listened to, and if you choose to cut anyone out of your life, make sure you are VERY certain and confident in your reasoning. I’m making noise this morning in the vain hope that people get to grasp that actually, you do what you know best in order to help people. For me, that’s words, and these ones are a reminder that however worthy and confident you are in yourself, you can and will be wrong in your life. Many, many times. The trick is how you deal with it, and the ability to come out of yourself and be honest when it matters may be the difference between life and death. Because, ultimately, in a world obsessed with communication, many of us are still unable to string sentences together with certain words or concepts that we can’t or won’t grasp.

Today is a Time to Talk: to someone you trust, to a friend, or even to a relative stranger. Today is a day to reach out and ask for help. This is a moment to grasp and exploit, for your own future and good health. Yes, I know how frightening that can be, trust me, but if you can find it within yourself to do so?

A whole new world is out there for you to discover.