Stigma and ICE

It sounds like the title of some buddy cop show perhaps – at least, that’s where my brain has gone even as I write the words. I’m afraid this is one of those mental health posts – so if you’re maxed out or uncomfortable here’s your “heads up” alert.

One of the things that has made this hard to write is that I know family members read it; along with a handful of people who know, or have at least met, me in person. As a consequence I’m suddenly very self conscious about writing. I don’t want to sound melodramatic. I cringe at the thought of talking openly about just how low I currently feel.

All the adages about not airing dirty linen in public and the sniffiness about people wanting attention are a hard narrative to battle through. I try to do the stoic bit, the tough as nails ‘men don’t cry’ bit, because that’s the expectation I’ve grown up with. It would no doubt be easier to write this if I blogged under a pseudonym rather than putting my name to it openly – but the whole point of this blog has been to own what I say.

I’m writing this blog entry as a distraction. I am not in what is generally referred to as a ‘safe’ emotional space due to a massive anxiety attack on top of my pre-existing low mood and energy. It makes for a dangerous state where everything seems very dark, and I have the energy to do something very stupid if I let myself. As an illustration: I’m writing this because I’ve just pulled myself away from the railings at the top of the Bentalls Centre, where I spent quite some time seriously considering throwing myself off.

In part, it was fuelled by the conviction that I had no one available, or equipped, or willing to listen to me panic. This is of course tied to the lonely falsehood fed me by my depression that I have no friends, and knowing how busy everyone is.

It’s a bit shit really, but that’s illness for you. I shall now reach for the world’s smallest violin. Being a stubborn bugger, I’ve stepped away and started to compose my thoughts on the screen of my phone. That’s what brought the appreciation of mental health stigma to the forefront of my mind. I have a counselling session this evening in which I will no doubt unpick this at great length.

The ICE part of the title means In Case of Emergency. This is what I need your help with, because here’s where I shy away from wanting to impose. If you know me and are willing to hear me – even if literally just to say “I hear you” – then message me privately and let me know. Just a simple text or IM of “yes” will do to help me build my ICE list.

I may never even use it – just knowing the list exists feels like it’ll be enough 90 percent of the time. This is reaching out as self-care, and I’m not great at it.

I’m going to stop now. The anxiety is quieter and I don’t want to stir it back up. I’m almost home, thank goodness for public transport.

Props and Cosplays

We’re going to MCM Comiccon in October, and the cosplay bug is enveloping the household. Lady M is ransacking fabric shops and swearing over the sewing machine, while I’ve been experimenting with prop making and customisation.

Lady M has been engaging with various groups online as mothermafiacosplay – she’s definitely the more socially adept of the two of us in that arena – while I quietly assemble or build components.

Yesterday I broke out the hot glue gun for the first time and decided to make a wand. I’m not sure what or when it’ll see the light of day, but it was a good exercise to get used to how the glue gun works.

The basics of the prop are simple. I took a double spread of a magazine and rolled it from one corner to make a wand shape. I did a second smaller one and inserted it to add strength, and then used the hot glue gun to draw rings and criss-crossing patterns up and down the length of it.

I also sealed the open top of the wand with a glue blob, and will now be painting and drybrushing and detailing to see what works. I’m not sure where I’m going with the colour schemes yet, but will see what suggests itself as I go.

The second project is a repaint of a steampunk-style pistol as a Harley Quinn props, so there should be a lot of red and black involved in that.

It’s all a good distraction from everything else. The characters I’m aiming to take to the con are: Karnak of the Inhumans, a gender-bent Harley Quinn, and an escapee from Azkaban – so no pressure or anything…