Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bye bye

I'm moving my blog over to WordPress and you can now find me here.

This blog will stay up for a little while before I delete it, please come and follow me on the new site!

X

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Group therapy

Hands up if you have had group therapy. Anyone? It's...different, I can tell you that. But I'm not entirely sure a group of depressed, stressed and anxious people should be in the same room together talking about depression, stress and anxiety. There were two panic attacks and numerous near ones. It all started when we were discussing the symptoms of anxiety. Guess it was too much for some people.

I had imagined it would be like in films, all sat around in a circle, taking turns to share. Instead I hid in the row at the back behind a large man and watched the others. There was a mixture of people from a beautiful boy who only must have been about eighteen or nineteen, to an older lady around seventy or eighty. Most of the audience were women. The two psychologists were women.

There was a board. And diagrams. And flow charts, panic circles, low mood charts and stress beakers. We were given handouts with such things written on them like 'stressed is simply desserts spelt backwards'. The woman next to me trembled throughout the session and mouthed words as the others talked. Only a few people spoke. I didn't. The ones that did overshared. And I mean overshared. Physical symptoms, court cases, relationships - it all came out. The psychologists had to manage their outpourings so that the session could finish on time.

The second one is later today.

Wonder what'll happen?

Monday, November 18, 2013

The next stage

It's been a few weeks, well four, since I reached the point of seemingly no return. And surprisingly, I'm still here, thanks to my wonderful family who rallied round me. We know what to do when depression hits, when one of us goes down, the others pick up the bits we can't do and carry them until we can. The medication is kicking in, giving me balance and perspective once again. But there is a downside. I feel nothing.

I noticed this towards the end of last week and have been monitoring it for a few days but it seems to be the case. I don't get happy, or sad, or anything really. I just am. The doctors have given me something to exist, to keep me in stasis until this thing is sorted out. My counsellor suggested I have a lot to process, and I agreed. I asked her if it's possible to process when medicated like this. She said it is. I shrugged my shoulders and said OK.

This is not me. I have opinions. I argue and shout and laugh and cry and feel passionately about everything, whether something is good or bad, it doesn't matter. I always feel something. Now I have nothing. Now I am OK.

OK.

I asked the counsellor if I was broken. She looked at me with a glance that would have made the old me rile up and demand to know what she meant by it. She spoke for several minutes and I still don't know if she answered my question.

OK. Whatever.

At home I'm too exhausted to do much, except read. I still feel sick when I look at my laptop. The puppy sleeps on my lap, brings me her toys to play with, so that all I have to do is hold them while she chews and destroys them.

The doctor said I've been in fight or flight mode for so long, for years, that my body is relaxing so I will be tired. It's been in emergency action and my batteries are dead.

I sleep til late in the morning. I nap after lunch. I doze just before bedtime, and then I go to bed at nine thirty. Repeat.

In between these times I try to work. My concentration span is getting better and I can actually do things now. And there is so much to do. Being self-employed does not help matters but there's only so much you can do before acknowledging that you can't do it all and sometimes you need a break. Despite the loss in earnings.

I'm thirsty. So thirsty. All the time. I down litres of tea and water everyday, as if my body has been left in the desert for a week and needs to replenish itself. My skin looks swollen, the lines in my face disappearing as the flesh pushes itself out.

Swollen with heavy black bags under my eyes, I lumber along, trying to exist for a day. Not asking for more than that just yet. Just today. Please let me get to nine thirty, to my bed, my sanctuary where I can sleep and dream and forget the world. Until tomorrow.

OK?

Friday, November 08, 2013

Post-industrial?

The last two weeks have been quiet. I've mainly stayed at home and slept a lot. I haven't slept properly in months so I guess I'm catching up on everything I've missed. The drugs are kicking in and it's making me sick. A horrible combination to fight through just to get up in the morning. 

But yesterday I did something out of the ordinary, to try to drag myself out of this rut and kick-start me again. I went to a Gary Numan concert. It was the boyf's fault. He loves GM and really wanted to see him but no one else would agree to go with him. I wasn't entirely sure a girl with depression should go to a industrial music concert but my sense of duty kicked in. That and I feel guilty for being such a bitch to him this year. 

Someone with depression really shouldn't go to an industrial music gig. The music was the sort that my teenage self lapped up, all thumping bass, rocking guitars with keyboards screeching over the top of it as GM sung of pain and loss. Instead of a spotlight, GM was backlit by several screens all playing the same horrific images of starving people, or flames, or blinking lights, or overexposed images of children so that they looked terrifying. GM and the band struck artful poses in front of the screens all night, creating devastating silhouettes as they played for us. 

The crowd was mainly made-up of fifty-something emos or punks, determined to cling to long hair or mohicans despite thinning hair and bald spots. Unforgiving corsets and chunky shoes wore the choice of the ladies. We were the youngest people at the gig that we could see. The boyf loved it. Even the pretentious opening band where the lead singer insisted on wearing a black scarf over his head as he sang. 

The loneliest place can be in a crowd. I certainly felt it last night. My depression, my suffocating oversized fox-stole, means I have withdrawn from people. I've realised that I avoid people where necessary, including friends. I don't think I'm great company so therefore I remove myself from everyone's sight. It's not hard to go. Refuse one invitation and suddenly it's easy to refuse everyone else. Then the invitations drop away and it's not hard to refuse them anymore as they don't come. You bump into people in the street and both of you are awkward. I don't feel good enough to be in company, to be around people, my confidence drops away and I've started to dislike crowds. Or being outside. 

Going to GM was a huge thing for me to do and it's worn me out. I also had to meet a client today, the first time in two weeks and I didn't sleep last night, post-GM.

I've been asleep most of the afternoon, the boyf is home and asked what we're doing tonight. I don't know what to say. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My new accessory

Time for a bit of honesty I think today. The gaps in my blogs tend to reflect what's happening in my life. Good times = lots of blogs. Challenging times = radio silence.

The challenging times have been getting increasingly difficult during the last six months and yesterday I found out why.

Depression.

The word only is enough to make a person sigh with sadness. It seems to be the fallback solution for anyone feeling a little low or unhappy, to say 'I'm depressed.' I've used it myself in this way before. But now I know what depression really is, well at least for me.

Feeling blue is the tip of the iceberg. And the iceberg is a fucker of buried emotions and memories swirling around, ready to drag you under at the slightest negative thing. It's not being able to breathe because you feel so goddamn worthless and pathetic. You're living a life that seems OK on the outside, only you're waiting for someone to expose you for the fraud you are. And so you live in a state of constant anxiety and stress that the work you do is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH. That the life you have built is so bloody fragile and cracked that a gust of wind can send the whole thing crashing down.

Some people with depression say they don't have emotions anymore; mine is the opposite. I experience every emotion to an extreme level. I know it's not healthy; it's exhausting living such high highs and low lows. Great when the highs are here and you can function at an incredible level, leaving amazed clients and colleagues in your dust. The lows are something else though. When you can't get out of bed. When the words on the document dance and merge in front of your eyes. When you have to read a sentence 20 or 30 times because it doesn't make sense. And worse of all, when a negative comment or action reinforces what you know already. Yes, I am shit. Why did it take you so long to find out?

A vicious circle emerges. As you lose confidence in yourself and your abilities, your work slips, and in the case of my writing, completely dries up. I haven't written anything new for my book in months. I can't. I open my notebook and want to throw up. It's the same with my email programme. I switch it on in the morning and I have to brace myself in case I have a barrage of emails complaining about me or my work. I usually don't, but it's only a matter of time.

So your work slips, sometimes people find out, sometimes they don't, and with writing, I have only myself to torture about how ineffectual I am. I am the worse boss to deal with. I don't let things go. I remind myself of all the terrible things I've done, the people I've hurt and let down. and the work I've fucked up. So then work starts to get fucked up more. And some more. And you can see it happening. You know what you should be doing, what needs to happen next but you can't do it. It's like there's a barrier between your brain and your body, stopping you from doing the things you should be doing.

I poured boiling hot water over my hand instead of the rice during the summer. I knew I had to pour it over the white pile in the colander but my vindictive right hand poured the newly boiled water over my left.

I drop things all the time. Like ALL the time. My laptop, printer, puppy (numerous times), food, plates, cups, etc. I fall over all the time. Or bump into things. My spacial awareness has disappeared. I stand on the puppy's foot every time we go for a walk and her yelps are like pins in my heart.

Then there's the anger. I can't control it and it explodes out of me, suddenly, usually when I'm at home. So much rage. I scream and shout and throw things (on purpose). My relationship has reached a critical point as my boyfriend has no idea what to do with this harpy at home. And I have no idea how to reign this beast back in.

So that's some of the iceberg that I deal with on a daily basis. It didn't suddenly appear on the horizon where the captain of this ship could spot it and set a course to avoid. It was a sneaky bastard Titanic iceberg that crept up in the dark, over time, building up to a massive crash. It's taken a turn for the worse this week with, as the doctor whispered....dark thoughts.

Yes, I have those on a pretty much daily basis at the moment and have done for a week. I don't know why but my depression has reached the stage where I really do believe I'm a waste of time and resources, just taking up useful oxygen from other, more worthy human beings. Call me selfish, call me uncaring about friends and family, I know it is. We've had a suicide in the family. I know what the outcome of it is. And it's fucking hard. The memory stops me from moving forward but the thoughts are there, tormenting me pretty much constantly.

So there you go. That's my depression. Like an oversized fox stole across my shoulders slowly suffocating me. I'm waiting for the medication to kick in, and I'm going to see people to get help. But today has been the worse day in a very long time. I had to write this blog to get these emotions out of me, to stop them growing into something more.

I don't know how long this blog will stay up. I don't know who will read it. But today it has stopped me exploding.

Monday, August 12, 2013

So where are they now?

It hasn't happened for me. 

I got the lovely agent and she worked her socks off but my novel hasn't found a home with a publisher.

Ya boo sucks and all that but onwards and upwards I say. And I wasn't surprised, TBH after the feedback I received from the agents. I seem to have written a book that people really get into, love the characters, are shocked by the story but have no idea which topic to sell it under. 

I've been working away on my next book. I even managed to get a fumbling first draft of around 50,000 words together which I sent to lovely agent. Her feedback included the words: 'I am concerned'.

:(

So scrapped that, rethought the whole thing and back to the drawing board. I've written about 25,000 words on the next one but finding time to write has been a challenge recently. So I've set myself a deadline

THE FIRST DRAFT WILL BE COMPLETED BY NOVEMBER 2013

Yes it will. Whether it likes it or not. 

There is money riding on this to make sure I don't lose focus. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The next one

The book is out with publishers now and it's hard work, waiting. It's been declined by some editors, a real shame, but their feedback has been great and I haven't entirely given up hope that it might find a home one day.

Meanwhile, to distract myself, I've started book number three, which will become book number two as I plan to finish that one next. The original book number two is on the back burner while I think about a few things that are pretty crucial to the story. Like the era I'm going to set it in.

So, book number three/two is up and it's coming along nicely. I've hit the 30k word mark and I haven't run around the living room once screaming about lack of plot.

I've taken a different tactic with this one, in that I've planned out almost everything already; from the characters and their back stories, to the main scenes. It's worked to a degree. I feel confident writing but this first draft is going to be short, probably only about 40k words because I'm trying to get the nuts and bolts of the story down.

Lovely agent reviewed my synopsis and added some very pertinent points as well.

First draft is still rubbish. There are a couple of yellow highlighted sentences with INSERT CONVERSATION HERE and PUT SCENE IN ABOUT THE XXXXX HERE.

Yes, there are XXXX in the sentence in the draft.

With the last couple of books, I just wrote. There was a bit of planning, not much though as most of it was in my head. I had a idea of what will happen and how I vaguely want to get there but then I let the characters lead the way. This time I'm trying to take control.

I'll let you know how it goes.