The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

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

Trying, failing, trying again

Trying, failing, trying again

After my last post, Is it Though?, I’ve been trying to… plot and plan and think through what to do next.
I did mention that I punctuate the phrase ‘if at first you don’t succeed. Try. Try again’, and I got feedback from people asking what I meant by that. So. I thought I’d explain that.
And maybe show off some new stuff at the end of the post 😉

If at first you don’t succeed. Try. Try again

One of the things that my wonderful psych team (Dr C and MW, my psych nurse) who I was discharged from at the end of last month, worked on with me, was my mindset. And this really does say everything about my mindset, in more ways than one.
It acknowledges, in part, that I’ll fall and get back up, over and over.
It acknowledges I don’t get it right first time.
But… unlike one of the comments (which turned into some serious nastiness, so was deleted) I had, it does not imply I’m setting myself up for failure. It does NOT imply that I expect to fail over and over. In fact, I’m often pleasantly surprised when I get it right faster than I expect, and I enjoy that.

It’s all about perspective

One of the essays in one of the new books announced this week, (Miles to go Before I Sleep, November 12th 2021) is called ‘it’s all about perspective.’ MtgbIs will be discussed in great depth later in the year, I guess, as an ongoing thing, but the perspective essay has a critical point in it.
“It’s really easy to say ‘I feel positive’ and be lying in some ways. Mental health isn’t binary. You can say ‘I feel positive’ and it really mean ‘but I’m still ready for it to go wrong’. It’s not a betrayal of positivity. It’s practicality. It’s just remembering that on that see saw, you’re supposed to be closer to ‘positive’ than ‘ready to deal with’.”

And I think that’s what I try to explain to others. I am upbeat, positive and often, just chugging away. But I am also often prepped for things to need adaptation. I expect to fail, and have to keep trying.

And keep trying…

How about some good news now? I’ve got three books up on announcement for release right now. I’ve told my street team, and shared on my own personal profile, and we’re just getting my publisher blog sorted out, but…

And miles to go, Before I sleep

Kill Kit Killers – Book 1


A House at War – Book 1, House Arrath and With Benefits

You can read more about them on KushkaPress 🙂

Back to basics

Back to basics

I always kinda feel like I’m talking about bootcamp when I say that, but, when things start feeling less pleasant and I my mood is less stable, I start thinking about needing to get back to my ‘basics’ plan.

A history

Waaaaay back before I had to be discharged from the mental health team locally and was granted the right to see a therapist in the county opposite, one of the things they put me on was a DBT course. It was ostensably because they kept arguing I had EUPD, and EUPD is primarily treated with behaviour modification and management, not meds. But I don’t have EUPD. I have CPSTD. It does also respond well to DBT, but only parts of it, IMO.

One of the worst weeks I had in class, and when my partner and I realised that no, coming home crying after class wasn’t because I was making things better, I was getting worse was when there was a list in one of the chapters about everything you have to basically do in a day to keep yourself and your living space clean. It was under a heading of ‘mastery’. Everyone in the class started deriding the fact that this was in there, while I very quietly (at first) sat and withdrew into myself because I realised I wasn’t even doing the basics of self care (to be fair, the list included ‘moisturise yourself every day, paint your toenails if you’re a girl, trim your beard if you’re a guy’ and I got so wrapped up in it being an example, and the ensuing argument about it that I didn’t catch what I should have, which was ‘we make our own survival lists’. The hardest bit about missing that was also that I was called some really unrepeatable things by fellow class participants, who suggested ‘anyone that couldn’t do this was’ (insert name here, not pleasant, at least one of).

The basics list was born

After arguing, and realising I was arguing with people that didn’t understand, going home, crying, asking on Facebook, and privately feeding back to the tutors that I had found that horrible, and that it might be better reworded (they asked me to, I did my suggestions on paper, in private), I started thinking about what my list should look like. It became my back to basics list. And before you ask, yeah, that was the beginning of the end of me attending any group classes for therapy. I was lucky that the next team that got me understood and caught where there had been mistakes, or I might not be as philisophical, nor aware about it all. And yes, you DO encounter bullies in those groups. Sometimes it’s the people leading the group. The less said about *that*, for now, the better.

Whenever I feel things slipping, or I start feeling as horrible as I did because I’m missing things that ‘everyone should be able to do’, I stop, I clean up whatever I’m doing, and I do my basics list. It’s not actually all that involved.

The basics list

  • Get up and make the bed.
  • Brush hair and teeth
  • Tell Alexa to ‘Start my day’ (tells me the time, the news, and loads Headspace so I can meditate for ten minutes, minimum). If still unsettled, pick a longer meditation, or watch ‘The Wake Up’ (again, Headspace app).
  • 1 walk, outside if possible. Alone is great, invite someone if not.
  • Make and eat lunch, even if it’s a tiny amount
  • Write 500 words OR design one page
  • If I’m feeling up to it, bake bread, or make something nice for others in the house.
  • Answer client emails honestly
  • Tell friends why you’re not around if asked.
  • Read
  • Laptop OFF by 9pm
  • Bath if stiff, feel like you need a clean or are restless
  • Bed with Tempus, if he’s home (10:30pm)
  • No tech at night.

There are times some of it gets skipped, like if I don’t come downstairs. If I don’t, I can read and research and write upstairs so it’s not the end of the world, but I do try to come down as often as I can. There are days though when I’m so depressed that all I do is make the bed, meditate, and stay there.


I tell people that the reason it works is because I don’t do well with chaos and unstructured things, but honestly… it’s a checklist of things that are either ‘must do’ or ‘can do’ and if I don’t do the ‘can do’ ones, it’s ok. Not at the time, but one day I’ll learn to be gentle with myself all the time.
One of the biggest things it does stop though is being online constantly. Social media is a place where I can talk to my friends, but it’s also a place where I see things that make me unhappy. It’s hard to filter the world news, and the other things I’m trying not to see cause it doesn’t help. So, mostly, getting back to basics restricts my time online, which helps me at least work on stabilising my mood.