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.

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”

Uni: Week 6 – we had a visitor!

Today started off spectacularly: I managed to catch the slightly earlier college bus and got to Grimsby by nine, took a stroll to the train station and didn’t feel rushed when buying the ticket and getting over to platform three. It was lovely. My plan was to get a table seat and do some writing on my way to Lincoln.

Continue reading “Uni: Week 6 – we had a visitor!”

‘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”

Comparing the research paper to the popular press: depression

Last week an old school friend shared this¬†article about depression, on Facebook; being me I decided to find the original paper it’s based on. Luckily, there was a link to the paper in the article itself. The article was written, or published 4th May 2016, whereas the research paper was published 30th June 2016. Reading the article made me itch at it’s stupidity, mainly because they tried to hook their ‘positive outlook’ on to a meta-analysis of brain MRI data. So, today I thought I’d read through both the paper and the article and compare the two. What I learnt was that the paper is more interesting than the article, and that people will always try to use the results to support their position, even when it doesn’t.

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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”

Review: ‘Furiously Happy’ by Jenny Lawson

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Pan Macmillan
24th September 2015
ISBN 9781447238324

Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

Continue reading “Review: ‘Furiously Happy’ by Jenny Lawson”

Work Capability Assessment: The Results Are In

And I’ve been found not fit for work. What’s more, they’ve put me in the support group, so I shouldn’t get hassled by the job center. Seven months after my initial application, and I’ve finally got my answer, it’s such a relief to know now instead of being in limbo. The constant trips to the doctors have been exhausting, I’ll only need to go when my condition worsens from now on, or for unrelated problems. I got the first notification, from the job center actually, rather than the official ESA notification letter, last Saturday. I’ve been waiting to make sure everything was confirmed before I passed on the news.
Continue reading “Work Capability Assessment: The Results Are In”