Feeling the need to journal – Anxiety 2021

Happy New Year. How’s everyone doing?

My anxiety has been high, unfortunately. Lockdown 3 has been a sudden change. I do not like sudden changes. It messes with my head. After the interruption to routine that is the Christmas and New Year break, I was looking forward to getting back to swimming this week.

The sudden imposition of lockdown at midnight on Monday/Tuesday meant that the pool was closed and my plans were thrown out of the window. I need to swim because it provides structure to my week, aerobic exercise that I enjoy in the form of walking and swimming, and a sensory environment that I find soothing. Warm tiles, the smell of chlorine, the all-around pressure of the water on my body, floating and stretching my muscles and lungs. It’s absolutely the best thing for my brain.

The state of the world isn’t helping, although my dogs are. Ezzie has taken up standing next to me when I’m at my desk and keeping her eye on me all the time. Gyfa takes over at night. She has a bed in my room and likes to climb into bed with me until I fall asleep.

I last left the house on Sunday when I had to go to the shop to get dog food. I have to go out later to get more dog food. I’ve spent the last three days persuading myself that it’s safe to go out to walk the dogs. We’ve just been out for a half hour walk, though so I managed to push through it. I need to go out with them again tomorrow or Sunday. I’m dealing with the anxiety of other people, the dogs being reactive and people treating us badly because they’re reactive, with dogs off their leads running at us and the dogs feeling threatened.

I’m scared of humans generally anyway, but there is a level of judgmentalism by dog owners at times. Ezzie and Gyfa are protective of me and reactive around strange dogs, while my anxiety makes it hard for me to talk, so it can be hard to be around other people and dogs. I prefer going out at dusk when it’s quiet, but I need to go to the shop later. That means I had to take them out earlier than usual.

I’m mentally gearing up to go to the shop. I have my visor ready, my bluetooth headband has a fairly full battery so I can listen to an audiobook and put the visor on. I tried wearing masks but the sensory pain is too much when added to the sensory overload of the shop. I like to go shopping in the evening when it is quieter and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. On Sunday it was rammed; I was not happy, I got so overwhelmed that I had to get a taxi home, and I think that put me in a bad place to start the week.

Every time I have a bad experience I have to treat the next time I do the same thing as though it were the first time and reset my anxiety and routine. It can take a while to feel comfortable again.

I need to rebuild my routine and make it through the lockdown.

I can’t read ebooks at the moment

It’s the brain, I can’t focus on the words and I just don’t want to touch a screen. If that makes any sense. Blogging isn’t fun at the minute, sorry.

I love to read and one of the the major bonuses of books is they allow me to escape. But, when my mental health is bad, as it has been for several months now, I need the tactile sensation of paper and turning pages to be able to focus enough to actually read. So screens don’t work for me.

I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve decided to cancel all ebook reviews for March. I have one physical book blog tour review booked in, ‘Stray and Relation’ by Dizzy Greenfield, which I have already read and the review will be posted on 17th March, but any other reviews will be for books I have in my TBR pile from various publishers. I also have a couple of books for April that I want to get read and reviewed ahead of time.

There’s another problem, I am feeling under pressure to agree to so many blog tours I don’t feel like I have time to just read for the fun of it, everything has to be done to a timetable, and I’m just not up to that right now. When my mental illnesses are playing silly buggers I can easily read the four books I have scheduled for this month in about ten days. But right now, the added pressure of ‘I must read this book by this date’ is too much for me.

I need to take things easy for a while. I had to cancel a couple of tours in January, but February was mostly physical books and I managed the two e-books fine, but I can’t do it this month, I’m overwhelmed and close to shutting down entirely. I’m going to email the affected blog tour organisers after I finish this post, but I thought you, loyal readers, should know first, that regular service has broken down and it’ll resume when I’m up to it.

I have three books on the side by my desk that I’ve read and haven’t reviewed yet because I haven’t been up to it. I have a pile of Pen & Sword books that I’ve started that I’m struggling to finish because I can’t focus. I’ve read 12 Tamora Pierce books since January, because Tortall is where I go when I can’t be here, when being here is too painful.

Sorry.

I have a new support worker, who is helping me with my emotional stuff and my regular appointments with the psychologist continue. I have sent my PIP paperwork to the Tribunal service because I was denied it at Mandatory Reconsideration. My rent goes up next month and I’m unsure of my ESA at the moment. After my Christmas Eve assessment I was moved to the work related activity group, so I sent new evidence and requested a Mandatory Reconsideration. I also contacted my MP for advice. I got my MR notice on Friday and I think it says I’m getting Support again, but I’m waiting for the award notice before I feel certain.

All this stress has, strangely enough, taken a massive toll on my mental health, which is never robust at the best of times. My resilience is low, unfortunately, despite all the support I have from my family, especially my sisters who bear the financial and emotional brunt of my mental illness and autism. I had been making progress, until about August last year when I started to go down hill again. It’s easy enough, one little thing trips me up, and then it spirals until I can’t function and I’m suicidal again.

To be blunt, I don’t need something I do as a hobby making things worse than they already are.

Diagnosis time and reflections.

Hiiiiiii

After my last post on Wednesday, I thought (some of?) my readers would be interested to know the results of my trip to the ASC Diagnostic Team on Thursday afternoon.

Continue reading “Diagnosis time and reflections.”

Dissertation: Week 1 – I’ve finally started ‘Granny Killer’ (provisional title)

I’m writing this to keep myself on track. I had a good first few days, until Monday. I wrote about 7000 words between last Wednesday and this Monday, but now I appear to have ground to a halt.

7000 words isn’t bad, I suppose, for the first draft, and I keep thinking of things that need changing when I write the second draft on my laptop. The first draft is hand written, in my notebook. The notebook has a fairy on the cover that looks curiously like Liv Tyler, but they added wings to make her less Arwen-like; probably for copyright reasons.

Sorry, back to the topic in hand. My dissertation. The creative piece has to be 13,000 words of consecutive prose from a new piece of fiction, and the creative analysis part has to be 2000 words. For that I’ll be concentrating on three areas – the conventions of crime fiction, the use of real crimes, criminals and detectives as inspiration by crime writers, and regionalism in crime novels – especially in Britain.

At 7,000 words I’m half-way there on the creative piece. I have arranged to do my dissertation supervisions by email, so I don’t have to travel to Lincoln. I can’t afford to; the student loan has all been spent on fees, travel, food, council tax, other bills. Basically surviving while attempting to study. Once a month I have to type up what I’ve written and email it to my dissertation supervisor for detailed, substantial feedback. That should be helpful. I hope.

Just looked out the window and noticed the bin. It’s bin day tomorrow and I haven’t had the bin emptied for four weeks, so I suppose I’d better go and put it out. And tomorrow is also my Post-Diagnostic Support Session with the psychologist. I don’t actually have official confirmation of my diagnosis yet and she wouldn’t even hint at it in her emails last week.

I’m anxious. If I get the suspected diagnosis of ASC – Asperger’s Syndrome, there’s nothing they can do to help, I’ll be passed on to a charity that might possibly be able to provide some information and support. If they decide on a different diagnosis, I’m back to square one, trying to work out why my brain doesn’t work the same way as other people and feeling like the odd one out all the time, with no explanation for my anxiety and depression, or my limited social skills, my dislike of changes to routine or plans, my pacing, fidgeting and tapping, and on a really bad day, rocking back and forth in my chair (sorry! everyone at uni, can’t help myself.).

It’s not uncommon for autistic women to be misdiagnosed as OCD or BPD, or ignored completely, and I don’t know what the psychiatrist’s qualifications or experience is, so now I’m wondering if he’ll dismiss everything he’s seen, heard and read because he’s one of those that doesn’t believe autistic women exist. Maybe I’m unnecessarily torturing myself, but anxiety lies and so does depression, so I don’t know what to think and I’m probably not going to sleep much and be a horrible person tomorrow.

Anyway, time to get offline and do something else. I’ve noticed a distinct increase in my anxiety whenever I spend more than a few minutes online without purpose, and especially if I go on social media. I had to go out food shopping this afternoon so I didn’t get my nap either, so I’m frazzled and tired. Also, my spelling is atrocious right now. Considering going up to my bedroom to cuddle with the dogs and Wabby, and have an early night.

End of year grousing about mental illness and autism assessments

I don’t often post personal updates these day; the blog has evolved over the last year. Of the last twenty posts, sixteen have been reviews, or blog tour related. The other four have been about my novels. I feel like I need to write a personal post today though.

Continue reading “End of year grousing about mental illness and autism assessments”

What shall we do with the exhausted Rosie?

Just kill me now.

Please.

Okay, I’m joking. Well, mostly. Don’t kill me, I’m too busy. Novels to write, books to review, that sort of thing.

Continue reading “What shall we do with the exhausted Rosie?”

I’ve been sleeping a lot

Yep, I over did it last week and have basically spent two days asleep. Which is why I’m awake at one in the morning writing a blog post. I’m hoping getting things written down will allow me to get some sleep tonight.

Continue reading “I’ve been sleeping a lot”

Update

Evening, it’d be much more pleasant out if the wind would drop so I’m sat indoors reading instead of being outside enjoying my new garden chairs. I have a fire pit too, I need to get burny-burny things so I can set fire to marsh mallows and toast my toes in an evening.Continue reading “Update”

‘Special K’ metabolite may provide a new drug to treat depression

The drug ketamine (a club drug sometimes called ‘Special K’) is legally used as an animal tranquilliser and illegally used to get high. Recent work has shown it also has a antidepressant effect. Continue reading “‘Special K’ metabolite may provide a new drug to treat depression”

16th April 2016

In January I lost my job, the managers cited ‘concern for my health’ but their attitude said they didn’t want someone with mental health conditions working for them. It’s not the first time I’ve dealt with that attitude and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Officially, employers aren’t allowed to discriminate on the grounds of mental health conditions, but if you have a zero-hours contract all they have to do is say they don’t need you any more.Continue reading “16th April 2016”