I’ve been having the occasional comment wend it’s way to me about how positive I’m being at work, how untroubled by all the stresses around us.
Truth be told its mostly because being cheery and positive is less exhausting than brooding on everything. Yes, there’s a small amount of denial, but I choose to interpret that as actively picking my battles.
A few days ago, myr s confessed they weren’t happy that I had to go in to work and risk infection. My only answer is that I feel safe enough in my work environment, especially with the barriers, cleaning, masks, and distance enforced while there. If anything it feels safer than going to the shops, and that’s in no small part due to control of my environment that I can exercise while at work.
Semi-related to the above is the descriptive fragment that bounced around my imagination this morning: “he was so optimistic that he expected anyone coming from Woking to be woke”
A year ago I was reading reports of some new virus that was starting to spread, and felt that we’d probably be okay if we were sensible. I never dreamed that a year on I’d be wearing a mask nearly all day as a key worker, and as of this morning breaking the news to staff that another colleague had lost a close relative to covid.
Sometimes I’m numb to it, sometimes I’m angry. I’m grabbing humour where I can find it. Sometimes I wish I could work from home, but most of the time I’m glad I can get out of the house. I remind myself I’m very privileged, even as I want to curl up and hide under the blankets.
But hey, someone yesterday asked to buy the original of one of my sketches, so that’s a nice thing.
Today feels a bit better than yesterday, which saw me make a grand total of 97 steps according to my phone. I’m still trying to get rid of head fog, but I’ve done the washing up, cooked lunch, hoovered the living room, and engaged with a few people online, at least in passing. I’ve even attempted, and will continue to attempt, to write. I’m currently editing through more short stories, aiming to bring them to around the 5000 word mark each as a starter. It feels like an iterative approach for these is helping, because I’ve actually completed the whole structure of them and can now flesh out and fill in gaps and leaps to even the pace.
So, today feels like I have a few more spoons.
One conversation I had yesterday pulled together a unified theory of cutlery that I’m sure some of you will have encountered as I’m pretty sure its not actually anything brand new. Spoon theory is about the parcelling out of personal energy to perform individual tasks across a day. These tasks can include social interactions, self care, household maintenance, and work. Fork theory is about the same thing, but is exclusively for helping other people – explaining how sometimes we have no problem at all helping other people with things while feeling unable to manage ourselves. Then there is Knife theory, which are spoons borrowed against the day to come to deal with emergencies, but which then lead you to eventually running out of energy and needing more time the next day to recover back to a normal (for you) operating level.
By that set of measurements, yesterday’s near collapse and today’s quietness is connected to low spoons and low knives, with a few forks rattling around from where I’ve been helping other people as well.
In the same breath, I can now confirm that within the DDC we are now referring to being unable to get out of bed as being trapped by mimics. Just roll with it…
Today I learned that library staff are now classified as key workers – I suppose its good to have that confirmed rather than just bat the idea around. Certainly the steady stream of book requests and queues at the door reinforce that for us, along with the heart-felt thanks from people of all ages.
On a lighter note I had a very brief health worry yesterday with sharp pains coming and going low in the abdomen on my right hand side. One quick Google for symptoms suggested either a liver problem, or appendicitis, among possibilities but both of them mentioned an inability to pass gas.
Pretty much immediately on reading that, I passed gas and fortunately was on my own so didn’t gas anyone. Lady M and myr s can attest to how lucky my staff were. And lo and behold the pain was gone.
If that’s the worst health issue I have, I can live with that…
I got home today and realised that I’d been on my feet all day, barring a quick sit down for lunch. With only a small crew on duty today, it kept me on my toes, and so when I had got home and showered, I took a moment to lie on the bed and just pay attention to my body.
My feet were tingling in that “oh you’ve stopped” throb, while my calves and thighs started to feel like they would melt off like petals. A stiffness at the base of my spine suggested not running around too much more.
Of course, my brain wanted to now start doing all the creative things, but then I got distracted with food, television, and blowing up aliens on the xbox. So, I shall dig into the archives some more instead, and plonk them here for a while for a splash of colour.
I’m focusing on being positive this week, what with the anniversary and my brain’s attempts to continue to sabotage me. For the most part this has manifested in new writing, new items going up in the shop (180 odd designs and rising as of time of writing), and going through old backups to find the graphics that time forgot.
Oh, there are so, so, many. I forgot how prolific I was when I was ill back in the early to mid 2000s. Some of the archives have aged very badly, others look amazing, and others are currently inspiring new works as a revisit.
Its interesting to see how I’ve progressed in some areas, and what looks familiar even now. More than anything else it has got me wanting to spend more time pushing to rediscover digital art techniques.
I had a brief chat today with a friend about how we’re each coping with everything going on, and how it is reported. We both agreed that we were each actively working on not letting ourselves get angry on a regular basis.
I went on to say that I was doing lots of focusing on being firm but kind with people that came in to the library, and helping where I can to at least make my small corner of the world less beastly.
What’s the alternative? Hopelessly screaming, shouting, and ranting is therapeutic to be sure, but helping keep everything stable for others helps me in the long run by requiring less sets of spoons to maintain after a while.
It just feels a lot of effort to be getting there. Being kind is full time work.
I’ve just sent off my draft to my counsellor talking about my most recent experience of suicidal thoughts and actions and of the journey back. Unsurprisingly it has raked up a lot of thoughts, emotions, and memories.
What has surprised me has been how much more difficult it has been to get it all down on paper rather than talking about it. It has done more than just make me stumble over those words, and had me in tears in the kitchen this evening.
Quite impressive for something barely over 900 words long. It took me five attempts to start, and in the end bluntness was the only way to make it happen. It mirrors the process of taking these things into session – building up and digging over implications and deductions to work out the whys and connections.
I may post it here at some point. If I do it will be heavily marked with warnings.
If you are in that dark lonely place, dare to reach out. Don’t let go. People will listen and care, and they may be the people you least expect. Don’t give up. Talk.
So myr s launched their GoFundMe last week to try and get the finances for their first appointments with a gender clinic and thanks to some wonderful people has enough to be able to begin that process and pay for some of the prescriptions and ongoing support required.
They are doing this privately because the waiting lists to even be seen for starting conversations are currently running at several years, and the gender dysphoria that they suffer from has been causing deep depression on an ongoing basis.
The fund is still open, and every little bit to help them will be hugely appreciated. This is literally life changing, and I want to see my partner thrive and be happy.
So my weekend started today after working my Saturday, and I’ve been quietly enjoying the sunshine, that and the knowledge that I’m also off on Monday. I’ve been mostly just enjoying being in my own head after a week of being around people at work – and I definitely plan to spend some time quietly by the river tomorrow – mostly reading and writing.
And following my most recent counselling session this evening, I’ve got an interesting challenge. I’ve been asked to write a piece that can be used in a training session as a testimony – in this case to talk about when I’ve been suicidal: both in terms of lead up and what came after on the counselling side. I’ve agreed to do it, so a quiet spot by the river without interruptions sounds a good spot to have that introspection.
It’s not the first time I’ve written about my “journey” for use in a class. It’s been a while though. The last time was more focused on recovery from self harm and was both challenging and rewarding to be able to be a coherent voice speaking to people directly and give a perspective on what they may encounter. It’s the same reason I’ve agreed to do it this time – because I want to talk about how I didn’t make it obvious to people that I was in a spiral, but also how it felt to be able to talk about it in counselling once the crisis moment was past. If it helps someone with a future client its worth it.