First a quick roundup of what I’m using in the picture! The mug and wooden tray are from Caribou Coffee, although I’m at a Starbucks lol. (A delicious French Vanilla latte is what’s in it, if you were wondering.) The chocolate is Wild Ophelia’s almond sea salt bar. The spotted planner is a Blue Sky creation I picked up at Target, and it’s sitting on a faux-Molskiene journal by Insight Editions that’s themed for Wrestlemania 32 (the back pocket has a picture of Dean Ambrose leaping on Brock Lesnar and I love it). On top of that I’ve got a bear-themed set of sticky notes from ShopMissA.com, and in the back is a pen pouch from MochiThings (aka my latest shopping obsession).
Whew. Alrighty, now that that’s out of the way:
Hi!!! I’m back!
Fun thing about mental illness: it doesn’t actually care what time of year it is or what you’ve got going on in your life. Sometimes it just wants to make everything fucking difficult for no good reason.
So, for the past few months, I’ve been being very bad at video games and whining on tumblr and literally nothing else. When I don’t have my day job forcing me out of bed, it’s really hard to get up in the morning. Regardless of my day job, it’s really hard to get to sleep at night. I can feel my partner hurting because he can’t help me, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The stress of working during the second busiest time of year for my industry makes it worse – it’s almost impossible to function outside of work, and inside of work comes close to impossible too some days.
But nothing lasts forever, as we exist in a universe literally made of change. The past few weeks of darkness have been punctured by patches of positivity like an ancient understanding of the night sky. I started being able to scroll through my Pinterest feed without being overwhelmed by guilt, and that was a good sign. I made my first PHP application, and that was a great sign. (I’ve mentioned how much coding can help my mental state before.) But the greatest sign of all was something I didn’t expect to happen for a long time.
I’m halfway through reading a novel.
Okay, that doesn’t sound impressive at all to anybody who reads constantly. If you told me ten years ago that reading a book was gonna be a great sign of mental health for me I would have laughed at you and wrote you into my horrible fanfiction as a character to ridicule. (I was 15 okay.)
But I haven’t been a regular reader in several years. After high school it became harder to find time. After I moved to Houston it became nearly impossible. And then when I found time again, I had lost the ability to focus. Plus my eyesight was worse.
Still I carried on buying books like I was going to read them. I have boxes and piles of books with no place to go sitting in my boyfriend’s room — the bookshelves are already filled with his books. Working right next to a thrift store encourages me too much; I can get sci-fi novels at $3 a pop, sometimes less if I’m lucky.
One day last week I found a Dan Abnett novel and I had to have it, of course. Abnett is the best writer the Black Library publishes. But my spirit guide had one condition – “If you spend money on this book, you have to actually read it.” Well, I listen when that voice speaks up. So I started reading it. And I couldn’t stop. I’ve brought it with me everywhere. I read it on break at work, I read it in the car until it gives me motion sickness, I read it waiting for a video game I haven’t yet played to patch for the millionth time. It’s so good.
It’s so good I bought another one of his books that was at the thrift store the next day and I’m going to read that afterwards. And then I found another of his books in a box of my old books that I’d forgotten I had and I’m gonna read that after the other one.
And I feel good again.
Not “cured” of course! – I’m not even on the medication I should be on right now to be honest. (I’m working on that.) But more myself. Myself is a person who drinks coffee and listens to power metal and reads about genetically enhanced super-soldiers burning space demons & fighting orks. And myself is also a person who runs a blog where I talk about being yourself when you’re mentally ill. And for right now, I can do that. I can be that.