The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

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

J is for Joy

J is for Joy

This entry is part 14 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

Today, I want to talk about cultivating joy. And I’m really sorry, because I know the language that gets used around this can be a bit ‘woo woo’ or touchy feely (and believe me, I know. But it’s an important topic, and if you can get passed the…well…difficult language that can make it seem like it’s inaccessible or… indulgent is another story entirely).

Firstly, cultivating joy. Building happiness. Creating an environment for self-care that works for you. ALL OF THAT IS KEY. It’s critical in fact. So. Cultivating joy is important, however you do it.

Whether it’s taking time out to write, to enjoy yourself…whatever.

Whatever YOU need to do to cultivate joy is critical.

Work/life balance post-pandemic

I think it’s important to talk about this, especially post pandemic. And I say post pandemic because we’re still living life under the threat of a new CV19 variant that could be more serious. Or it could be less serious. I’d say, in the UK at least.
We are seeing at least, some things being abolished in the UK, but I’ll honestly say that I think that’s something that I wish hadn’t been removed quite so quickly. (and really, I hear people coughing in public and my spine stiffens. I’ve had CV19 once, and it was bad. Not terrible, not hospital level, but I don’t want it again. I mean, I don’t like flu, I don’t like having a cold, I don’t like any of that, but honestly? I’ve got to a thing about not getting sick.
And I honestly think some of that is the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time looking for a positive mindset, building meditative routines, writing, taking my downtime when I need it. All of that.

And I think that’s important. I think joy is one of those things that helps with your health, and so, one of the books I’m writing, and will be talking about later in the month, is about cultivating joy. Just…without the ‘woo woo’.

(sorry, if the language doesn’t bother you, and you like it, that’s ok, I apologise. I just find some of the language to be a barrier, and it’s hard to get people to take it seriously if they see it as touchy feely/woo woo. I agree with that, which is why I’m writing about it a different way, and trying to address that bias). I’m calling it Brass Tacks self care. ๐Ÿ™‚

G is also for gaming

G is also for gaming

This entry is part 11 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

I’ve spent all of my life gaming. Literally, since I was small, I’ve been obsessed with games of all kinds, from computers and consoles to boardgames. Since I was nine, I’ve been playing in RPGs, starting with Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve played everything since, from Warhammer 40k, and everything else I can get at ever since.

I’m also super lucky that I’m married to a gamer. Our house is basically a geek paradise, and our date night often consists of gaming.

Currently playing…

So, right now, I’m currently playing GloomHaven with our friends – I’m also playing that on Steam. In our gaming group, I’ve just levelled up my first character, and I’ve just started a bard, of sorts. Online, we’re playing a D&D, run by a dear friend.
Online, I play everything from Fallout 76 to Wingspan. We also have a lot of the games we play as boardgames.
I’ve got a console and I’m saving for a Steam Deck, but first, we’ve got the UK Games Expo which I’m saving for. Which is where we get to try new games and buy art and spend a fortune ๐Ÿ˜‰

Based on…

One of the final great things about gaming is that I get to write stories too, from adventure ideas I’ll never run to books I’d love to read. And, I sometimes pull characters from games, that I’m playing, and develop them. That’s how I ended up with Shula, and how Jonathen ended up in Cry Havoc (though, in the case of Cry Havoc, and Jonathan and the wraiths, they came from my ‘bad idea bear’, aka my other half).

G is for Gods and mythology

G is for Gods and mythology

This entry is part 10 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

I think Neil Gaiman said it best in American Gods introduction when he said,

“It goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise, inย this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real.”

Neil Gaiman – American Gods

When it comes to writing, I think that’s actually kinda accurate. And as a writer, our fictional characters are pretty much fictionally contextual (we make them up), but the gods of our stories are real.
But, for me, mythology and gods are a little bit ‘real’ too. I’m both Pagan, and adore mythology. And I love how much you can go looking and find a rich tapestry, with, well, a lot of the same tropes.
There are gods and myths the world over. I’m more familiar with a lot of Western Mythology than Eastern, but in everything I’d encountered and read, I’ve found a great deal if interesting crossovers and similarities, themes and inspirations.

And that’s what makes them real

I think, at the end of the day, that’s what makes the gods ‘real’, as Mr Gaiman put it. We relate to the stories that we’re listening to, reading, learning.

If you’ve been on my Facebook feed recently, you’ll know that I’ve picked up a set of books for my next project, and I’m really excited about the new projects ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Easter for those of you that celebrate.

F is for Fun…

F is for Fun…

This entry is part 9 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

I actually do a lot for fun. From writing and blogging, to LudoSport (which I’ll be blogging about later this month), gaming (tomorrow) of all sorts, reading and gardening. I also do lots of crafty things, from using my Cricut, diamond paintings, knitting and learning now (or trying to learn) to crochet, cross-stitch, and I’ll be learning to make macrame creations. I’d love to learn to do resin artwork too, but it’s on my later list, cause there’s only so many hours in the day.

Fun, or downtime

While I used to struggle with this, downtime is one of those things that I now specifically schedule for. I write as a job, but I also love writing in general, so I count that as work AND play. I also blog, because I like sharing information, and giving people the support they need.

I exercise in the garden, and at LudoSport, and I enjoy going for walks in gardens, and Arboretums and in parks and forests. I love nature in general really, and it’s nice to spend the time with my family.
I also meditate (again, I’ll write about that) later in the month, and yoga. I also collect various things – dice, artwork from games, books, and FunkoPops.

I also have models for my games, and my computers, and consoles. I enjoy spending time with my family, and love my cats.
Most of my stuff though, is included in my awesome banner. See what you can spot ๐Ÿ˜‰

What do you do for fun?

Yesterday’s blog posts

E for Elliot

E is for Edinburgh

Yesterday’s comments

(I’m on a deadline, I’m going to catch up after then!)

E is for Edinburgh

E is for Edinburgh

This entry is part 8 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

Princes Street Walk


I am a native of Edinburgh,
Auld Reekie born and bred,
scrappy, beautiful, like our famous dog,
And a beauty over a gory, bloody history.

A melting pot of cultures,
loud bagpipes, in endless loops1
the Fringe, Hogmanay, Beltaine,
the city alive, beautiful, brilliant.

Athens-like Folly2, overlook
some modern shames, like the ever
tripline replacing trams3,
whose tracks warp, even in the
flash summers of Scotland.

The misheard street names,
that of Princes Street, in front of Queen,
we stand there, by the Scott Monument,
our picturesque ‘Goth Rocket’4
waiting, for the One o’clock gun,
tourists asking when, bemused residents answering,
asking one another “if it’s not just in the name?”

Look out over the gardens, then back,
A mishmash of souvenir shops, blaring
traditional music, the echo of bagpipes,
forever kept, the hotel fronts, or grab a coffee
and transport stops with dual purpose

Go down, past the galleries, travel to
Haymarket, and beyond,
find the woodlands, the water,
Go to the Braids,
solitude, space, and isolation, in the centre of one edge
or to the Pentlands to Water of Leith,
dance out in Colinton,
where Princes may have walked,
leading me back home.5

Notes

1 – I’m not complaining about the bagpipes, I actually like them, but for the month of the Fringe, it’s just a wall of sound. Understandably, but it’s a lot.

2 – The Folly referred to here, is also called ‘Edinburgh’s Shame’. It was built, and then ran out of money and was never completed. It was abandoned in 1829. It’s beautiful, and it’s also the backdrop for Beltane’s fire festival.

3 – No one really likes the trams, not anyone I’ve spoken to. There’s been a lot of backlash about them. i betcha though, saying this, I’ll be told they’re actually ok now. All I know is that they’re one of the major things both our families talk about as an issue with things happening in the city. Recently, the only thing they’ve been more annoyed about is the random bike lanes popping up like vines.

4 – No really, we call it the Goth Rocket ๐Ÿ˜‰

5 – I used to walk from the centre of town, home. I’d start on Princes Street, after walking down from my now partner’s flat a few streets away, walk to Haymarket, then up to Fountainbridge, pick up the Union Street Canal, then come off it, onto the Water of Leith and home, to the Calders or Wester Hailes. It was a long walk, but I loved it, especially in spring.

Yesterday’s posts

D is for ‘Don’t call me that’
D is for Darkness #Elliotpeters
D is for DungeonBashers

Yesterday’s comments

Songbird’s Crazy World
Life after 50 for Women
Brizzy May’s Books
Arbitray Dust Bunnies
Shalzmojo
The Curry Apple Orchard

C is for C-PTSD

C is for C-PTSD

This entry is part 6 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

I’m doing two posts today – C for Cats, and C for CPTSD. 
In the early 2000’s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I went through a period of needing medications, which sorta worked, sorta didn’t. By 2014, after losing a job I loved, I really didn’t have an easy time of it. It led to a lot of issues, eventually, with my mental health treatment and that’s a whole other story, but it also led to me being given to a team that finally decided I might have Complex PTSD.

A definition of CPTSD

(from an article on Bi-polarbears)

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by prolonged or repeated trauma. This trauma can be physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological.

CPTSD is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it’s more complex. People with CPTSD may have trouble regulating their emotions, trusting others, and feeling safe. They may also have difficulty forming relationships, holding down a job, and feeling good about themselves.

The symptoms of CPTSD can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks and nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of anything that reminds you of the trauma
  • Negative changes in mood, such as feeling hopeless, numb, or helpless
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Changes in physical health, such as headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue

If you think you may have CPTSD, it’s important to see a mental health professional. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for CPTSD, but therapy can be helpful. There are also many self-help strategies that can be helpful, such as mindfulness and yoga.

A personal view of CPTSD

Many people pick up CPTSD for abuse as a child, and while that’s technically true of me, instead of it being familial abuse (I was *very* lucky to have a loving extended family that raised me with my mother), I had issues, instead, with my peers. I was bullied, badly, until late high school. And while it used to be believed that bullying was character forming, honestly? Though it made me who I am now, and some of that is really interesting and there’s a lot about me that I think was formed by my issues with my mental health, and it’s not ALL bad, some of it is. I don’t blame the kids I grew up with, I don’t blame the teachers who thought it was ok. It’s all pretty…blameless, right up to the last couple of years, and even then, I write most of it off as ‘we were kids’.  Because that’s the truth. Even when we weren’t…we were.

How it affects me

I’m not entirely sure how to explain how my mental health is, but the last few years have been an exploration and a start to untangling, on my own (after two AMAZING years with Dr C and M, at Avon House). Well, I say on my own, but my family and friends have helped, a lot. But I’ve done a lot of work, I think. From mindset to trying to teach myself to trust people more, to working on my anxiety…it’s a whole ball of stuff.
But, I’ve got some of the standard issues which arise from CPTSD, and a couple of non-standard ones. Anxiety, and issues with seeing and hearing things are my major ones, but I struggle with understanding if people are angry or upset. I also struggle with isolation, depression and more.  

That said, there’s a lot of things that I’ve also learned.  I have a great mindfulness program that I follow and I meditate several times a week.  I’ve got my coping mechanisms, and most of all, and as I’ll talk more about in L for Ludosport, I’ve got an in person community that I exercise with, and they support me too. Plus I’ve got a tonne of friends online.  I’ve spent the last few weeks and months, especially working through the information that I’ve got and I’m writing about it now.  That I’ll be talking about in R, on Booksbykai.

I’ve struggled, and might struggle again in the future, and my mental health will waver, but I’m learning, and working through it.  Like being mildly autistic, CPTSD is one of those things that I’m actually comfortable with now, though I do admit I fought quite hard at first.

Yesterday’s Posts

B for Blogging

B for (world) Building

Yesterday’s comments

J Lennie Dorner

J R Vincente

The Multicoloured Diary