I’m reading the first book, read the second book and the other three books look promising.
Post is for playing around with the new WordPress editor – so far I don’t like it.
I’m reading the first book, read the second book and the other three books look promising.
Post is for playing around with the new WordPress editor – so far I don’t like it.
I did a lot different this year. I used some bullet journal style tracking including my word count for the day and a sentence about what I did. I wrote down a variety of things for inspiration or brain storming. I prepared for NaNoWriMo by setting up a process and working on *my* process.
I realized some things. Like when you’re developing a story you don’t need to pick the perfect option or motivation for your character now, you can consider every single option you can think of. Silly things. I realized silly things. But important nonetheless.
This is the first year I’ve ended NaNoWriMo with multiple story ideas. I’ve done enough work now to recognize some trends in my own writing ideas – so there’s a story I want to tell. But there’s other ideas I haven’t figured out yet. For example, writing a character with mental illness who still manages to be successful and kept together and, well, a hero (or heroine).
My goal became to write for 30 days in a row. I did not have enough of my story developed to actually write scenes and dialog and content. I spent a lot on further development – because I was trying to cram too much into 1 story? I also arbitrarily assigned myself a word count goal of 16,000 – and also removed/rewrote a chunk of 700 words and still kept over the 16,000 words.
My next steps: 1. Set up scrivener files for each story idea. 2. Figure out how to track progress and word counts. Progress is story specific, word count doesn’t need to be story specific. 3. Start Chuck Wendig’s No Fuckery Writing Plan. Like officially. 4. Writing next will be outlines for at least 2 of the 3 stories. The third story is probably a short story? It’s got to sit and simmer for a while so it’s decide if I want to bounce around or focus on 1 at a time.
See that? A plan!
I’ve had improvements in my physical health in the last few months – and now better mental health treatment in the last 2 months – and I think that’s helping more than I can possibly explain. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2012 —-
— This is the first year I’ve felt I have something I can continue to work on. Mental health treatment probably has a great deal to do with that. I’ll know more for certain after I’ve done more work on my mental health/well being. I have this funny feeling as I write this blog post. I think it might be pride and accomplishment because I did a thing! Emotions are confusing and hard. Anyways –
If you’re a writer, or trying to be a writer, and dealing with depression, anxiety, ptsd, or any kind of mental illness. You aren’t alone, keep at it. As they say, “Your story isn’t over yet;” Also Chuck Wendig has lot of good things to say on the subject.
Mostly I want to record these links somewhere together so this seems like a good spot!
The article where I found the set list for a concert on November 25, 2018, in New Orleans LA.
The cover by NIN of David Bowie’s “I can’t give everything away.” – youtube because the song isn’t on Google Music.
The album of NIN and David Bowie performing together in 1995 which past me would have probably loved for so many reasons. (The lost teenager inside me is sad right now.)
And the playlist I made on Google Music trying to get as close to the set list as possible. There’s David Bowie songs on it though.
I like having things to jog my brain, get ideas started. What am I missing when I think about my characters? Or my plot? These aren’t how tos, or walk throughs, or tutorials, but handy little things to keep around.
And courtesy of “The Mad Scribbler” are these character templates. One is extremely detailed (spreadsheet!) and one has lots of info on one page. (Pay attention if you print it out and check your settings.)
This one is a collection of “writing tips.” (link straight to pdf)
Here’s another created by a helpful writer. LOTS of information in this “writer’s cheat sheet.”
The website Writers Write has some handy looking tables with a total of 350 character traits. I saved each picture and printed them out.
I remembered NaNoWriMo Prep in the beginning of October! I’ve done more prep this time too. Still no outline (yet).
I’ve joined the followers of Rachael Stephen. I like her and her videos. I love she’s a research nerd. I learned her approach to the embryo plot device, I recommend trying it out. At least try it out.
I’ve been a fan of Chuck Wendig for a while and his blog is fantastic for so many reasons. He’s talked lots and lots on NaNoWriMo and I’m sure he’ll talk more about it still. His post collecting the ways you can outline for NaNoWriMo is damned extensive. (I also like how he says National Plot Your Novel Month too.)
I’ve also done some bullet journal stuff for NaNoWriMo too. Not a lot, but I’ve decided to start a project journal/bullet journal for general writing stuff just for me. Like things to help get me writing and tips for outlining.
This time around, I might use these from Better Novel Project dot com too.
There’s also a lot of information at Fiction University by Janice Harding. I have her book. It’s useful. Here’s a guest post from her blog I really liked. The Alchemy of Inspiration. I started a “pet peeves” list after reading that and it’s also very useful.
Here’s a poem (?) I wrote sometime in the past few months when I decided to do some writing about mental health and my mental illness symptoms. I don’t remember writing it. It sorta sounds like me but doesn’t all at the same time. I can’t tell if it still needs an ending/if it’s complete. I’ll leave the interpretation up to the reader.
Some days I don’t like living in my mind
The weather is always changing.
Nothing is where I remember leaving it.
Doors that were open yesterday are locked today.
Stairs and routes from rooms to rooms change, often overnight.
Windows don’t work right, they won’t shut or they won’t open. The blinds will get stuck too.
Sometimes I wish it was brighter so it would be easier to find my memories.
Other times I wish I had more rugs.
You can sweep things under rugs but eventually the rugs stop laying flat and you trip.
There’s no way to forecast the weather, it can change stormy in a breath –
Or be calm and quiet in a breath.
Days and days everything will be as I expect
Something happens. Someone happens. Time passes.
And the rules.
My mind has so many rules to keep track of too.
Rules for talking to people, feeling, being alone. Rules that have nothing to do with my body.
Some days everything is stress. Everything is bad.
Sometimes I can’t leave the house. I can’t deal with anyone.
I could title this all kinds of different things, like Why the US Healthcare System Fails People with Chronic Illness, or Please Will More Doctors be Honest with their Patients. Or something about how chronic illnesses and mental illnesses together make doctors afraid of you.
I saw a new psychiatrist today. I haven’t seen a psychiatrist in over a decade, partly because of all the other doctors I see or have seen. I mention that because I’ve gone through what feels like a thousand new patient appointments with new doctors. Lately they all go pretty much the same. If I’m lucky they’ll have a tidbit of insight or confirm something and agree with someone else. I’ve had good and bad experiences with new doctors. You can feel anywhere from validated to broken.
It’s probably worth noting that when I fill out the paperwork that doctors request their new patients fill out, I include my own lists for my medication, health history (or diagnoses), and allergies. The preferred (better) response to this is appreciate for the clear and thorough information. The not preferred response is shock and awe.
As you probably guessed, the doctor I saw today was shocked and in awe. Her eyes widened at least three times. She couldn’t believe my list of allergies or medicines, and stumbled over my medical history. I think her jaw dropped once? More than once she asked a question that would be answered by reading 6 to 10 more words of the paperwork she was already reading. She picked out the medicine she doesn’t prescribe because it’s “very old” as well as commenting how I’m on “so many” sedating medications. (I don’t think she read the word “as needed”.) She commented on my xanax prescription, probably because she doesn’t prescribe it, but offered no alternatives.
All of this happened while she was firing questions at me. She moved quickly but didn’t specifically rush me. She was very nice but also clearly overwhelmed. She was even surprised at the number of doctors I have – which shouldn’t be a surprise in the US healthcare system after you see the number of diagnoses a person has received. She also assumed I wanted more medicine since she told me that considering the medicines I’m already on, she doesn’t want to give me more medicines. (If I had a nickel for every time…..)
And one I haven’t heard before…. she didn’t want to get in the way of any of my other doctors. Psychiatry is very specific the last time I checked, if she’s willing to send records to other doctors then she’s working with them, not interfering.
Probably the most interesting? successful? useful? part of the entire experience? Within 5 minutes of talking to me and looking at my paperwork, she asked if I was ever diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This means that I’ve had a doctor at Mayo Clinic, psychological testing, and a random psychiatrist all have the same “opinion” – that I do have Borderline Personality Disorder. But no one wants to make recommendations on medications.
She had very little to say about the problems I described with my memory, including lost time, and how through working with my new therapist I’ve come to learn I probably/likely/definitely have PTSD.
She clearly felt I was beyond her capabilities but never actually said this. Really good doctors say this! Great doctors explain why!
In fact, I even felt like she wanted to run away. As she was leading me back out of her office towards the front desk she was walking fast enough to disappear behind the turns in the hall. I’m accustomed to people waiting for you or giving you directions. Logically I know that this was probably the way my brain interpreted the situation – and probably not what happened – but I still feel like subconsciously she was trying to get rid of me/get away from me. It’s super weird to hold both those thoughts at the same time.
No, I’m not expecting a new doctor to have answers – but the more people involved in a problem, the more likely you are of finding some kind of help. If you can’t help me, refer me to another doctor, please! Or if you aren’t sure how you can help, tell me. This appointment wasn’t bad or terrible, but it wasn’t productive or pleasant either.
Ultimately, she referred me to another place to receive this thing called TMS that’s supposed to help treat depression. I have an appointment tomorrow for a “cost free consult” so we’ll see. Not holding my breath. Insurance, time, and money all figure in.
I’ll need to try another psychiatrist but it’ll likely be a few weeks. Finding a new psychiatrist is difficult on my mental health. Especially with my other doctor appointments and trying to build a relationship with a new therapist. The first psychiatrist I tried never returned my calls (2 left over 3 days with a message that calls are returned same business day!). So I guess this was a slight improvement. Maybe the third try will be a success.
*image courtesy of inspiro bot. Seemed appropriate based on the various blank spots of various sizes that I have in my memory.
I find it fascinating to see the effects of physical and psychological stress evident because of tracking sleep, heart rate, and activity level via my fitbit. Because of my personal physical and mental illnesses I overreact to stress at like a biological level.
Here’s some screenshots of my heart rate history…..
This first picture shows my week at Mayo Clinic. The highlighted day, May 25, was a Friday and the last day I had an appointment. I went home May 26. This was one of the most stressful experiences of my life.
Now for the next screenshot. This one is slightly different. It shows the first day I felt better after getting sick after getting home from my trip to Mayo.
Third one shows an instance where I wasn’t as stressed as I thought while still being super stressed and upset… I had a number of distressing or anxious experiences. One triggered a 1.5 day migraine that I think was followed by a dissociative episode lasting 4? days. July 13 was the day after I received my first round of neuro/psych testing results and was extremely frustrated by the news.
And the last picture. This is the day after I had my appointment about all of my neuro/psych testing. This time I finally had a doctor ask me the right questions and confirm there’s something else different about my mental health and identity something I can do to make my life easier. It’ll take work but maybe I can spend less time on a roller coaster.
This post brought to you by early morning insomnia.
I started writing this post back in June. Why didn’t I publish it? —
I don’t have the ‘official’ diagnosis for BPD or borderline personality disorder yet. However, from what little I’ve read it explains so much. More things keep ‘clicking’ and if I don’t end up with this diagnosis I’ll be asking the doctor what looks like BPD but isn’t.
Recently, I read this from Psychology Today. It’s about people with BPD fearing what their emotions will do. The article says it better. Then things just clicked. HOLY Fucking SHIT I keep getting answers. This article even potentially explains what happened when my physical health became worse.
I live in fear and I feel like very little is under my control.
Fear that something bad is going to happen. Fear that someone is going to think something bad of me. Fear that something bad is going to happen to a person close to me. Fear that I will upset someone. Fear I will overreact to something small and mundane and not be able to calm down. Fear that something physically is going to happen to me when I’m not at home and I won’t be prepared – like a sudden migraine or an allergic reaction. Fear of getting lost. Fear of what will happen if I end up upset and can’t control it and end up more upset. Fear of losing friends if they _____. Fear of harassment on the Internet. Fear of having to wait 30 minutes or more for a doctor appointment. Some of these fears I’ve been able to logically move past. Some of these fears I think I cope with by just not feeling.
I didn’t realize it was fear until after all my testing for personality disorders and after reading that article. This explains why I find compartmentalizing my emotions so dangerous. If I ‘save it up’ to feel later it will be so much worse, especially because I’m afraid of what will happen. And I’ll forget about it, until it comes back, like because something has triggered an emotion or memory.
Rereading this, most of it seems ridiculous. I’m not actively fearing for my life. I live in a relatively safe area. I isolate myself quite often and literally have less of a chance of being in a dangerous situation. But mental illness is ridiculous. Mental illness is illogical. It’s difficult. I’m going to go out on the metaphorical limb here and assume I was afraid to make these words public, despite the fact that in terms of the Internet in 2018 my blog basically doesn’t exist. Again, mental illness doesn’t make sense.
More logically, I didn’t post this because I’m still waiting to hear back from the doctor in charge of looking at all the testing I did for personality disorders. The initial information I received in early July is that I have depression and anxiety. That’s it. There was something about not exhibiting behavior for BPD. I still have so many questions. But that doesn’t explain so many things. I’ve realized a good chunk of my daily behavior is impulsive. From stress eating almost daily to suddenly getting up in the middle of a TV show because I decided to do something else like go play a game on my computer to deciding to clean out the closet. My impulsive behavior is collecting hundreds of kindle samples and thousands of knitting patterns. Or starting 8 different books before I decide to actually read one. Deciding I need a new pair of shoes today. Then there’s the mood swings and the times where I don’t remember what I did all day, even when I try. It’s not like when you can’t remember what you ate for dinner last night. It’s because there’s a dark hole in my mind instead of memories. I fear something happening that will remind me of a bad experience and then my emotions will stir up – like a sudden summer storm that might spawn a tornado.
And leaving the house. Oh. Leaving the house and being around people is exhausting. Conversations have so many rules to follow. Small talk is tedious. Avoiding people is easier. Driving somewhere is stressful. You can’t trust drivers around you. Most people drive distracted. If I get cut off or something else sudden happens I could spend hours shaking from the jump in my heart rate. Then there’s the physical problems like making sure I have snacks because it’s so hard to find something safe to eat outside of the house. It’s so much easier to stay home, inside, away from everything. Besides, home has netflix and our cats and a supply of chocolate.
Because of my health and my anxiety, I spend all day trying to keep my thoughts, emotions, and impulses under control. I can’t go shopping because I don’t have a job and we have a mortgage. I can’t just go for a walk because it’s summer in Texas and my body doesn’t tolerate heat over like 77 degrees (F). I can’t spend hours in the kitchen baking because I won’t be able to do anything after I’m done – and I don’t know if I’ll be able to clean up everything before it’s time for dinner. I’m jealous of people who can drink alcohol and eat whatever they want. I’ve started to impulsively “break” my diet. I’m gluten intolerant and it clearly still causes problems but I’ve started eating foods with gluten again. Thankfully I’ve been on a high dose of a mood stabilizer for years. I still have mood swings. I’m afraid of the mood swings now. Or something triggering me into feeling overwhelmed by emotion. I’m afraid because every time something happens that’s difficult, it’s harder to calm down afterwards. Harder and harder. And the migraines. Because some things are better I can see how stress triggers the migraines. Last time I had a migraine I lost 5 days. I don’t remember what I did.
I suspect? Assume? I fear? Probably fear. That when I finally hear back from the doctor who is in charge of the neuro-psychological testing I completed in the end of June and being of July he’s going to tell me I don’t have BPD at the current time because I don’t have the extreme behavior – because I limit and control myself via anxiety and fear. And then that means I’ll have mental illness symptoms that doctors can’t explain on top of my long list of physical symptoms that doctors cannot explain when all I want is help to straighten out my mental health so that maybe just maybe my physical symptoms will calm down too. I’m afraid this doctor does not truly understand what living with chronic illness and chronic pain means.
*scrolls back up*
So I guess I didn’t publish that post because I knew I had a lot more to say and I didn’t want to face it. (And if you read the entirety of this blog post hopefully it wasn’t as painful as I imagine it to be. You deserve a cookie, or a strong drink, or some ice cream. (Also, I’m afraid to reread this for edits or I might not publish it.))
My mind is a place I don’t want to be and I don’t know what to do about it. I think that means I don’t know who I am either.
And not remembering how I feel at home when I can’t bear to leave the house when I do actually leave the house to see doctors isn’t helping.
I’ve had the thought multiple times: I should share recommendations for cat stuff on my blog. Off and on I get a lot of questions about cats so it seems like a good idea. So here it goes.
Water fountains! Water fountains are great for boy cats who have urinary issues, keeping water fresher in general, if you have especially hard water, and keeping the water a little cleaner if you have cats who like to play.
We had a cat with urinary issues so we’ve just continued to use fountains. I’ve tried at least 4 different types/brands of fountains. Every fountains weakest point is the pump. The kind where a plastic thing snaps into a plastic bowl/reservoir eventually breaks or leaks. I recommend a fountain that bubbles over one with a waterfall. More cats don’t like splashing water. Some definitely do!
The last fountains we’ve used are the Pioneer raindrop. The ceramic style is fantastic except that the pump lives in this little plastic case full of crannies to catch dirt and grime. The filter is also made with plastic and I decided to stop using it so I could stop throwing away chunks of plastic. Filters were more expensive too.
Next we switched to the plastic version of the same fountain, partly because it’s dishwasher safe. The filter is the more standard style, with no plastic parts. We had a lot of issues with the water level causing trouble with the pump flow. Also I think the filters were of inconsistent quality and would help cause the water level issues. The issues could start 5 days after cleaning the fountain and replacing the filter. All this leads to a water pump that’s going to die faster.
Side note: This style of fountain is also good because it has running water and a flat surface like in a bowl – if you have super picky pets.
Here’s some pictures of that fountain.
You can see the large open water surface where a cat can dump toys or stick in their feet. Also the pump top is right at the surface of the water. You have to be diligent with the water level. And then there’s the underside of the top with the little ridges for dirt to collect in.
Here’s the fountain I set up today. It had higher reviews on Amazon than the Pioneer fountains. It also keeps the water level significantly higher than the top of the pump.
Some pictures. (Don’t mind my mess in that first one. I do recommend that book for any writers reading this.)
Also, the filter is all fabric and I like that. It’s the round thing in the second picture. I don’t know the cost of the filters. This fountain also has a flat easy to clean bowl.
Finally, I’m intrigued by the different options for the water flow and I hope the cats are okay with it since the surface of the water is safe from food or dirt. Videos to give you an idea on the water flow options. (Gah! I did videos in portrait mode!)
So far I have –
What’s something interesting going on for you?
I’d like to record something about my experience at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota in May 2018, but I’m not sure how to go about it yet. I was there 7 days total counting arrival and departure days. It cost over $1500. I was referred by one of my doctors. It appeared to be impossible to get in on my own. I tried.
If you don’t count learning how my mind and body reacts to being made to deal with mental and physical stress outside of its safe environment (is that really productive?) — I had a solitary productive appointment while I was there.
I didn’t have the time or energy to really explore the area and appreciate the small museum quality displays throughout the main building on the Mayo campus.
If I were to sum up the experience, it was completely misleading and I never would have traveled with just one guaranteed appointment. Mayo Clinic does nothing to welcome or introduce patients to their services. I also recommend no one with chronic illnesses goes to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
I’m still deciding if I should go into detail about the experience.
Reader, would you like me to share?
Yes so I didn’t think of this until April 9th but that’s okay. Dammit. This will be an experiment. I picked time this year since hours/minutes were an option. It’s really cool they made the “camp” months less rigid. I’ve also realized, since it’s the ninth day of the month, April seems to be a bad month for me. Weather is a big part of it.
Tracking my writing activity –
Came up with a total of 420 minutes writing and looking back at previous years, April is not a great month for me. I set my goal for the Camp NaNoWriMo event too high but learned how to track my writing in a way I can keep up with and SEE PROGRESS!! when I’m not actively writing sentences and developing scenes. Also, only counted active focused work.
post updated May 1, 2018 with full month of tracking
Last year I didn’t go because of how much yarn I purchased in 2016. I almost didn’t go this year except that the small businesses who attend conventions/shows/fests like this, usually have some kind of limited supply thing. This year, instead of posting a bunch of random pictures on social media I decided to write up a blog post! This means I’m adding project information too. Side note: I recommend attending something like this with a plan.
Obligatory? picture of the pamphlet which includes information the classes I can’t attend because it’s too far from home and I’d have too much issues with pain.
Some more bags that I probably don’t need but look at the designs!!!! The first is from Diana Couture. I’m definitely a fan. The little red bag is by Grace’s Cases. I happened to buy one of her bags online and then accidentally learned she was at the show. If you like smooth tops to your project bags, check out her sacks.
That little baby zipper bag is for stitch markers and it would work for coins too.
(Also from Grace’s Cases.) I plan to use this teal gradient set for some sort of crescent shaped shawl. Unfamiliar with the yarn and can’t remember where I got it besides a place out of Colorado, but it filled the hole in my stash for a nice single color gradient.
And some self striping yarn from Brazen Stitchery. Socks or mitts, undecided for now.
And some specific planned projects:
This pair of yarn carnival on the left is a gray and sorta mother of pearl and I plan to make this shawl out of it. The pair of yarn carnival on the left is for a color work cowl. I started a color work scarf and it blew up my brain after the first row. I’m hoping the cowl will be some good learning. The purple will be the dragon.
And I’ll end with the single skeins I bought. The first one is inspired by blue bonnet flowers and will be paired with simple black to make this shawl. It’s by Destination Yarns and it’s smooshy!
This next skein is by Leon Alexander and the picture doesn’t do it justice. Don’t miss the green in there. I’m currently trying it out in this zig zaggy shawl scarf thing. Their yarn is amazing and bright.
And last, a yarn that’s new to me and a color I usually don’t go for. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be when it grows up. They had so many different colors and I hope they update their online store on a regular basis. I must keep an eye.
And then two weeks after we were at DFW Fiberfest I bought some yarn from yarn dot com to finish out for a sweater. So many projects, so little time.
This is the first winter season I’ve not been on (strong) antidepressants since 2012? And I possibly should have been on something before then, but I’m also currently taking another medicine that’s a mood stabilizer and I know it’s helping too. Side note, my biggest known depression symptom is the “losing interest in activities you enjoy.” Except for video games, of course.
In the past I always assumed I got stressed around the holidays because of how people being stressed in general can make you stressed. And holiday STUFF. This time, there was less to be stressed about. (We didn’t do official presents for example.)
After a couple of days of barely being able to cope with anything external to me – about a month ago? I started to put things together and looked up seasonal affective disorder.
First, there’s this:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern. To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years. Seasonal depressions must be much more frequent than any non-seasonal depressions.
Huh. So what I assumed was stress was likely my depression being worse. Back to having difficulty with lots of stuff, like the prospect of needing to make an unexpected phone call basically causing my brain to shut down. Add in my counselor getting sick and having to reschedule counseling a bunch, when I actually really want to go because I want to talk about this SAD thing. Then I remember how I had similar problems last year where I really wanted to see my counselor but she got seriously sick. (I’m hoping she’s “just got the flu” but the flu is pretty tough this year.)
Then everything began to come together, especially when I read this part:
Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:
- Having low energy
- Weight gain
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)
Oh. huh. Hibernating! So not seeing people and not being on social media and not writing blog posts and just basically being at home, depression explains all of it. I think I’ve become an expert at being functionally depressed. Do the stuff that needs to be done. And I’ve been having no trouble getting to sleep and sleeping like the dead most nights. That’s not normal for me. This coupled with regular depression symptoms explains why I had so much trouble with NaNoWriMo in November and why I come up with all my new knitting project ideas in the summer. Quoting from here by the way.