The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

It’s not desertion…

It’s not desertion…

Recently, I talked about a few ideas I had about boundaries with a few friends, and for the most part, I’ve had great conversations about how to segment off time. But… I wanted to talk about something that had come up, and something I think it’s hard to talk about because when we do this stuff, it’s supposed to be positive and empowering.

It all started with a share…

So, I shared this a few days ago – and one friend said to me that I was far too focussed on how I was feeling right now. So we talked about that and she said that all I need to focus on now is making sure that we *all* survive in the community – that ‘community’ won’t survive unless people get their heads out of their asses.

And that literally left me…well…breathless.
I’ve been trying to articulate a lot of what I’ve been thinking about and it’s beginning to come down to a couple of concepts.
1) I’ve got some fairly cruel-to-be-kind friends – a good or bad thing, depending on what I’m doing.
and 2) If I’m suffocating/drowning/got no spoons, I’m useless to my community, and in real world communities, those that can’t contribute and have in the past are often seen far better than we behave towards those around us in the community right now. And by community, really, the main ones I’m around are the mental health advocate and the indie author community.

First, get your own mask on

Regardless of what my friend believes, the rule about oxygen masks that’s oft quoted – get your own mask on before trying to help others is important. Possibly critical. I’ve spent the last few years struggling against that, but things aren’t getting easier for me. So, my first step is my ‘oxygen mask’. For that reason, and that reason alone, I’m ressurecting ‘SMSCDT’ or Social Media Self-Care downtime.
My second action is my silo – something I’ll be talking about in another blog post.
But I wanted to be clear on this – if you need to step back – whether this is something you’ve done over and over recently, or it’s the first time – though it’s hard, you have to follow your gut, or your heart. Be aware that some people won’t be happy – and that if you’re accused of letting them down, you can either stop and think as to whether they’re right, or if you’re being guilted (I’m pretty much in both camps. When I step back, if I’m working on stuff that needs sorted, I’ve got plans for that too.

Step back, or be ashes

As this all went down on my chat server, another two friends saw what was being said and put their opinions in – part of the opinion that was shared was that not only was I right to be stepping back, but it’s not my place to burn myself up to keep other people warm (there are a lot of these metaphors, huh?) and that if I didn’t step back soon, they wouldn’t be surprised if I was just a pile of ashes at the end of it. It was at that point the friend admitted that if I stepped back, long term, I wouldn’t be around for her stuff and that she was relying on me to get stuff done. Flattering as that is, it’s not changing that I’m on downtime.

But you take downtime regularly, don’t you?

Anyone that’s around on my social media knows that I take May off for my #Kaiatus, which often leads to a lot of work pulling showing up at the end of May. But, I’ve spent the last three years doing downtime and coming back whenever summoned. That’s not happening this time. And the next essay, which I’ve called ‘The Grain Silo’ (and is a part of the reason I finally went forward to write ‘And Miles to go Before I Sleep’) to explain why. But it’s about resting, not quitting, even if people feel like I’m deserting them. I don’t like that feeling, I’ll be honest, but I’m not sure what to do other than the path I’m on. WHen the road less travelled isn’t one I’ve ever been on, ever, it’s hard to know if it’s the right choice. But I guess I’m doing the best I can, and this is what it’ll take.

What’s your thought? Downtime, yay or nay? Should you consider community before self always? Are you going to be considering some time out, especially given the year we’ve all had?

It’s a Lockdown in the U-K

It’s a Lockdown in the U-K

While AuthorInterrupted and other blogs will be talking about writing and stuff, has always, and traditionally been about everything – writing, artwork, photography, and life. And it’s life today that I’m addressing.

Corona, Lockdown, my government

I don’t hold a positive view, really, on my current government in the UK. I’ve seen exactly one action that seems to be in advance of everything else (cause last year, exams were stressful, and not worked out until June – so, props for that), but we’ve gone from ‘you can go home for Christmas,’ to ‘no, you can’t,’ to ‘and you’re in tier 4, to ‘hey, national lockdown’. Except….that’s a misnomer.
Takeaways are still open, essential services (and those have extended, thankfully) are still open, schools are closed, ans basically, it feels like a bitty solution to something really serious. We’re locking down until February, but I’m currently seeing reports that suggest we may be in it until the new tax year, which is April 1st.

What would I do differently…?

That’s the rub. I can’t really work out what that answer really is. I’m not a politician, I don’t know everything about all of the statistics that are being used to decide, but what I will say is that once again, it feels like mental health has become not just an afterthought, and that’s not pleasant at the best of times, but quite honestly, there’s been a total disregard for mental health entirely in this conversation with most people. Newspapers literally focussed on the impact of closing betting shops and pubs (hello addictive behaviour – of all the examples they could choose…) and talking about how terrible this lockdown is. I can’t really say I’m happy or comfortable with that, and the complete non-response from the government about how they’re addressing mental health and isolation, but if the NHS only has a finite pool of resources, and mental health was already cut down to bare bones and little else, it’s not surprising that this (and cancer and other life-threatening issues) are being put on the backburner. And critically, for that, I don’t blame the NHS at all – I blame the government. I blame Boris for a lot and while I try not to go overly political, I guess this is one of those times I am kinda.

So…what I’d do differently. I’d listen to the advice of the people I was asking to be my experts, I’d be leading by example, and I guess I’d accept my tenure wasn’t popular. Can we expect that of Boris Johnstone?
Not at all.

What we can expect is non-lockdown, Lockdown.

What I’m actually doing…