The Fix

The poem began on the day I forced myself out of the house and into the countryside (such as it exists here) and that really proves the point that sometimes, external stimulation kick starts writing ability. I ended up with an opening line but no more: this morning after a night full of dreams where getting lost would finally provide inspiration to find the path back to my destination, ending became beautifully obvious.

My subconscious when all is said and done can be very easily read.

There’s two poems for this submission: after going to see the eldest at Uni and having a birthday meal (he turns nineteen this week) they’ll both be finally looked over and then sent. Next week is the re-write of an existing poetry collection for submission again. With the changes to style, content and approach that have taken place over the summer, I suspect little may remain of what is started with. We shall see.


I have a confession to make. I watch very little TV these days. It is therefore a bit of a stunner to have a bunch of things approaching that will be consumed, rather voraciously, leading up until Christmas. The BBC’s adaptation of His Dark Materials begins in early November. Tonight, the first proper TV adaptation of H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds is on BBC1. In anticipation of this, last night, Netflix got fired up, and a new documentary series was begun.

This series is pretty much made for someone like me, and the opening episode did not disappoint. I’ll review it properly once all the content has been consumed, as the range of designers covers a fairly eclectic definition of the word. Let’s hope that the BBC does not shonk Wells’ original vision, and that the good vibes over their adaptation of Pullman’s work with all the contentious stuff left in really is as good as the trailers suggest.

At least it gives me summat to write about in the week :D

Lies

When I first joined Twitter, nearly eight years ago, people encouraged me to talk about my mental health issues in an environment that felt instantly welcoming. The truth, however, was not nearly as open as was first apparent. There was that DM by one particular person which still lives bright in my brain: just want to make sure you’re not lying about these issues to gain attention. Their ‘brand’ now commands a five figure follower count.

The best thing I ever did was to block them.

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In the intervening seven years and eleven and a bit months, I’ve learnt an awful lot about how certain types of people can be massively detrimental for mental health. There’s the type that do anything to get attention, including actions that are only executed in an attempt to incite anger or fear. Then there are those who obsessively retweet or like everything you do in the vain hope you’ll notice them… and the list goes on.

As a woman, it is especially galling when, after having had what you think was a decent conversation with someone, they immediately decide this must be an overture to trying to start a relationship. Forget that you’re happily married with two children, because that would shatter the illusion of ‘that perfect internet connection’ and then, with a heavy heart, you’re blocking and ignoring another attempt at inappropriate behaviour.

Don’t get me started about telling certain people that they’re wrong about their opinions.

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Today is about making people aware that there is help in the world for their mental health issues, a drum I’m happy to keep pounding for the rest of my adult life. The problem with such days, inevitably, is ignoring negatives and only accentuating positives. There is no one thing to fix everybody. Finding individual peace can often be a long and complicated journey. Take it from someone who’s still working that out.

To assume everybody who says they are suffering really is… that’s a tricky issue. I’ve come into contact with a couple of people for whom Munchhausen via Internet could be applied, but realistically one must never take the chance people are lying for attention. Eventually, if you are being deceived, the truth becomes apparent. That’s been true in every single situation I’ve encountered over nearly a decade.

We have to believe everybody is telling the truth, regardless of our own feelings.

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My gut’s pretty sound after 50 plus years. The ability to spot a wrong’un amongst the genuine sufferers comes from taking time to listen to issues, even when others think nobody is listening. Shouting into the void is what began my path to enlightenment, and if there’s the means to continue that expansion of mind and body with other people, absolutely it is worth doing the work. It’s basic common decency.

Everybody has the potential to develop a mental health problem. It is our obligation to help anyone who does, regardless of how we might feel about their motives. However, as help is offered, be mindful of your own mental health needs. The world is as much about understanding yourself as it is helping others: for every action, inevitably, there is a consequence.

It is a delicate balancing act, but so utterly worthwhile when it works.

Flawless

Before I went to bed last night, tea cups were put out for the morning, bags already inside: chai for youngest, breakfast blend for me. A protein shake got made and refrigerated. These are simple tasks that, for the last month, weren’t doable. Not enough space in my brain existed in order to plan that far ahead. Finally, order is returning from chaos.

There’s a lot of anger to deal with currently. Most of it is out of my hands, which makes rationalising situations occasionally problematic. Being the sole parent at home is the hardest thing for so many reasons. I miss my husband terribly. However, he is undoubtedly ill enough to be in the best place for him physically: mentally, however, there is a creeping doubt this is doing more harm than good.

I can only support him and hope there’s some comfort with each passing today.

The fallout from this month will continue to be felt for some time. Right now, it’s time to attempt to inject normality into existence as far as possible. That means a gym trip shortly, and a new exercise class this evening. Better eating, more sleep and less stress is the long-term goal, all three of which are very much dependant on personal circumstances.

After that, it’s time to fix my formal writing.

Sunrise

Definitely getting better.

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The biggest problem is energy levels. This 30 minutes yesterday ended up feeling like three hours. It’s probably sensible therefore that today is a rest day. An awful lot of excess sugar’s been removed from my diet, not really intentionally, it’s just happened. That needs to be replaces with something, and in this case it is fruit sugars and honey covering the shortfall.

Oh, and the occasional portion of bread and butter pudding.

School is back, and so that will mean a return to pseudo-normality. The difference this time around is that the eldest will be at University starting in a fortnight. That’s gonna be slightly strange, and I’m already missing him (as he’s been away in various places since I was hospitalised.) However, this is the march of life. That’s how these things work. The hope is that we’ve done a decent job as parents to prepare him.

Time will tell.

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The plan is to start writing again tomorrow, or rather start editing some stuff I want to submit to a contest next week. After that, I’ve almost found the bottom of the washing bin, and then there needs to be an effort to start working back to full fitness. I’ve lost nearly 4 kilos in the last month, half of which is muscle mass. There needs to be an effort to get that back as a matter of priority.

There probably needs to be more tea too.

That Thing

I’m gonna end up writing a gaming post today, on the back of comments that I’ve seen, despite having muted a key phrase in my Twitter feed. It’s inescapable, like the march of seasons and the annoyance of those who think waiting for someone else to solve their issues is the answer. What amazes me, and continues to do so, is the perception of different as better.

Often, different is exactly the same as it was, except you forgot that was the case.

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Porridge for me is a case in point. Oats have, for many years, been my way of getting energy throughout the day without the stress of over-sugaring myself. Except, over time, pre-packaged snacks have risen to challenge that dominance. Energy bars, conveniently presented, luring me into excess sugar I don’t need… making me think they’re somehow better than the first bowl of morning oats, with some fruit chucked in for good measure.

Hospital was a benefit in that regard. Porridge, small bowl, handful of berries. No fuss. No stupid concept treats with ingredients I don’t need. This is the fuel needed to get me through lunch without stress. Today therefore will be day three of the Huel shake plus a planned porridge and pomegranate snack that doubles as part of lunch, with some extra fruit and nuts. Why did I forget that simple was best? Why was I that dumb to begin with?

Mostly, on reflection, it is my own stupidity to blame.

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I know I’m not supposed to be so hard on myself. Don’t worry, I get that. I also grasp, only too well, that improvement isn’t just a notional set of numbers, or a line or two that gets drawn in the sands of expectation. The problem for me is obsession. Separating need from desire is a tough ask sometimes, but things are improving on that front. I know I’m capable of great things. The problem’s in execution, not ideas.

So, it is no wonder that occasionally the path is deviated from. To fix it isn’t just about knowing what matters however, but how that’s reached with the most amount of enjoyment along the way. Let’s face facts, that’s summat I’ve forgotten how to do in the last six months. Enjoying myself, as it happens, is not nearly as stressful as used to be the case. In that regard, counselling is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Time for porridge, and then let’s see if we can start making sense of the bombsite that is this house.

Teenage Dirtbag

It’s already over 70 degrees outside on a Monday morning. There should therefore be a huge thunderstorm at some point in the next couple of days, ‘coz that’s how it works in the Estuary area. If it happens, there may well be standing around outside because I could do with getting soaked. Everything itches. I thought I’d escaped the worst of hay fever this year but BOY was I wrong. However, finally, my left ear is back to normal.

Today therefore, time to talk about moving forward.

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There is 5kg’s worth of fat on me that needs shifting. I can see it, and feel it: the importance of its removal has become wrapped up in an ability to prove to myself I can do hard work when it matters. I’m not setting a target date, but will make an effort. There’s other stuff that needs fixing too: personal things, shifts in axis that can’t all be done at once. You’ll grasp this when it’s done, with everything else.

For now, this is a busy week. I’ll finish off the last of my currently pinned poetry’s mirrored background gubbins this morning, then the last ten poems can go up. I’ve asked for two to be removed (and I’ll repin them when it happens) and then that’s it, the whole collection is ‘live’. I have then until Wednesday to get the last of the mirrored stuff up. That’s eminently doable in my time-frame.

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Kettle on, let’s roll.

Bad

I wasn’t sick per se yesterday: my throat’s been scratchy and uncomfortable since Friday, if truth be told. It was the two night’s worth of terrible sleep because of that which did me in on Sunday: instead of working, I relaxed. I dozed. A lot of sport was watched along with playing basic tablet games. By teatime, balance and comfort had returned; rest of the evening spent happily pottering on nothing important. Significantly, there was no exercise.

Today has dawned with a renewed sense of optimism.

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This is cycling for last week, done. Not as much as I’d hoped for but setting the benchmark for what ought to happen next: bit more effort, slightly less grumbling. After Easter, one of the 45 minute classes per week adds a 55 minute variant. I have to decide this week whether I take the challenge or not. It has to happen at least once, so there’s an idea of the difficulty curve.

It’s really lovely to have a lot of exercise options on the table.

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This month has been absolutely transformative. Good and bad, both have shifted so much of the bad away. The more good that can be built as a result, the better things become.

Thank you for sticking with me as I evolve.