One of the major mindset changes I’ve been trying to work on is not looking at any delays in my life as ‘delays’, and instead look at them as chances to… I guess, design my way around the things that others consider limitations, I guess.
Today for example, I’m operating under the influence…of a migraine. Migraines are the bane of my life. Or one of them, at least. I live with several chronic conditions, but migraines are one of the few ones that stop me dead in my tracks.
(Authors) living with chronic conditions
I’m probably not preaching to the choir here, but, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In part because of Alchemy of Kindness, but more importantly because I’ve had to completely redesign the work that I do and how I do it. I have clients to look after, and my own books to do, so in the last few years, I’ve been refining how I work, and more importantly, WHERE I can work. Can’t get out of bed? Got a tablet that I can use with a bluetooth keyboard. Stuck in appoitments for treatment? Smartphone and several apps for the win.
But, on the flipside of all of it, I’ve also had to teach myself when to stop.
Self-care is not a bad word
I’m my own worst enemy for this one, but, I tell other people that they need to put themselves first. But honestly? Here’s my almost…dirty little secret. I absolutely believe OTHERS should take time off when they need it, but when it comes to me? I prevaricate. I don’t deal well with taking time off, or slowing down. It’s important to note that I *do* take time off, but the guilt is always terrible. Which is why we’ve spent time trying to ‘mitigate my guilt’, but quite honestly, after I write this, I’m going to go curl up in a dark room, avoid tech for a bit and see if my migraine shifts as fast as possible.
But some of us don’t do well with self-care
I can’t say whether it’s to do with having CPTSD, or if it’s my personality type, or if it’s just how I am, but there’s a lot of time that I do have regrets because I’ve had to take time off. Tried to put myself in a position of understanding. Tried to treat myself as gently as my friends. I’m not very good at it though. So, I’m working on that. I can’t see it going away overnight, but I am concerned that time that I spend worrying is just as unproductive. It’s a bit of a catch 22, I guess.
Anyone got any suggestions on how to deal with the guilt of taking time off? Other than instead of seeing it as two steps back, and instead of resting and prepping?
I’m taking this time, other than lying in the dark grumbling, to think about books. And where I go with my websites. And what I’m writing for Nanowrimo this year!
So, firstly, I’ve spent the last week with shingles all up one side of my face. It’s not *the most* painful thing I’ve ever felt, but gotta be honest, it’s close. Because of this, my ‘October announcements’ post and this one have kinda rolled up.
The pot of my soul, cracked as it is
I’ve been talking about ‘levelling up’ a lot on my private groups. I’ve been talking about several things really, but I want to be clear. My major one is community. I talk – a lot – about #payitforward and that the #writingcommunity is very important to me. To do that, I’ve been thinking about levelling up my life. I’ve lived my whole life accommodating various things. Mostly, I guess, psychosis. My mental health is a major element of my life, and even when I’m at my best, I’m… not? I live with imperfect cracks, like a little jar, a Kintsugi pot fixed with the things I find around me. My soul is visible in places – in others, it’s patched and safe. There are raw patches, that I guess I’ll eventually cover over. But that little pot is pretty tight right now. I’m managing to fill it up a lot more often, even if there’s…less space in there. We’re working through various things as a business team, because we do sort of have some plans. For now though…
This is my newest project. I’ll be sharing snippets and more. But this Kintsugi thing? I’ll be talking more about it. As for levelling up? Because I’ve had shingles this week, I’ve not managed as much as I wanted to. But I’ve taken a couple of things forward. I’ve grabbed a Duotrope trial, to start working towards getting to my stories out there and building my name as a writer, but also to bring in a challenge. To ‘earn’ it, I have an amount I have to be paid for the pieces I submit, and that’s ok. It’s a low goal. I’m using my diary again. I’ll be clearing my office space. I’m also getting Uni work done – I’m booked in for tutorials, and I’ve got my books ready to go. I’m a bit excited to complete my first year of Uni, and start moving towards my PHD. And I’ll keep condensing down stuff to here. I’ll talk about that more in the coming weeks, but it’s pretty much a clean up and combine exercise right now 😉
I’m on a few weeks of classes, to learn how to work with one of the major systems we’re using right now. I’ll be talking about that more, and I have to say, I’m really excited. The next few weeks are also ‘Freshers’ for me. I start back at Uni next week, and have several exams that I need to prep for.
One of the major things I’m noticing is that I’m still as willing to do everything I used to get up to, but I get about three into my 20 piece daily list (I used to manage it), but I’m not who I was. Part of that, I have to be honest, is probably to do with being depressed. Part of it has to do with my issues with anaemia and persistent illness. A LOT of it has to do with maintenance insomnia. (I’ll be coming back to that one later, but the short version of that is I have *finally* taught myself to go to sleep pretty much when I go up to bed. Sometimes I go up and meditate and I fall asleep. Sometimes, I just go to sleep after reading for a bit. What normally happens though, is around 1am to 2am – one and a half to two hours before I’m thinking I fell asleep, I wake again. I don’t really help myself at this point, because I’ll have a drink of iced tea. Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep. Most of the time, I can’t. It lasts till…sometimes…8am, before I finally get to sleep. In short, it’s hard to plan a day when you don’t know how much sleep you’re getting the night before, and unfortunately, whatever else I have going on, sleep creates problems if I don’t get enough of it). Most of this is all pretty well known, if you know me, even in passing. It means that my hours are often a bit scattered, but, I’m working on that. My partner and I have talked. While I’m not an early bird, I don’t like that I’m split shift sleeping. I don’t know if what I’ll end up doing is sleeping for a bit, getting up to work, then sleeping more. It might mean I can write in a set period of time, I don’t know.
The changes though – to make things easier for myself, and the things I want to do, while I’m doing my classes on WordPress design and Fresher’s week for the Open University, I’m going to start setting up all of my blogs, and connecting them up, collapsing or closing those of them that I can’t spend time on right now. It’s not permanent, I hope, but even if it is, moving on isn’t always bad. So I’ll be mapping that out. It’s the first step in about a million, if I’m honest. I’ve got books, I’ve got information to share out, I’ve got things I need to – and want to – do.
Struggling with Writing
One of the things I saw that was interesting this morning – in fact, it was the first thing I saw opening my phone, was this post from Neil Gaiman.
I think there’s a lot of this that’s important. For writers, creatives. For life. We have bad days. We do what we can, but sometimes it’s just a day that doesn’t move…anything. And then, one day, a good day. Maybe a few. Maybe a whole bundle of them, in a row, like a huge gift. And really, I do mean this could be *anything* we do in life. Sometimes, we find that it’s hard to do things. That’s ok too.
I’m between my good and bad right now. On that middle ground of being able to see both. I might slide back into bad. I’m working on the things I can reach from here. It’s all ‘low hanging fruit’ and learning for me. Uni starts next week, and I’m getting through to finish year one of three just as soon as I pick myself up and get a plan on….
Which is next. You’ve got this guys. And so have I…