Its been a long day, but it feels like its been productive. I spent this morning with some colleagues putting together a risk assessment for reopening one of the libraries. Lots to consider but the writeups didn’t take too long to complete.
The bonus for the day however was getting home to find a care package from one of the DDC – specifically Mre B – full of hand crafted items, and tactile delights. It absolutely raised my spirits and I’ll post photos when everyone who has had one sent has received their parcel.
I’m still exhausted from the last few days, and still seem to have a nagging pain thats either muscular or a trapped nerve. On the plus side I’ve been feeling a bit more creative, so I have some things to show for the day.
I had a bit of a double-whammy in the delivery of some replacement grey, black, and sepia ink pens in the morning; and then my digging out my venerable graphics tablet this afternoon.
The sketchbook image above is freehand line art drawn this evening while Lady M played some Assassins Creed. The other two are Photoshop enhancements of some pieces I doodled last year. I’ve cleaned up and added to them over the course of the afternoon.
And thats what I’ve done to settle myself a little after the events of the last couple of days.
Lady M is still recovering but seems brighter this evening, and has been answering good wishes and enquiries through the day.
With the weather a bit cooler today, its made me realise what about the steady heat blanket of this week has had me struggling a bit.
Essentially the lack of breezes had brought a heaviness that was reminding me of the dissociative parts of my depression. Everything was feeling dull and distant and my head was responding to the familiarity of those sensations.
Being a reasonably smart cookie, I recognised this on a subconscious level at least, because I’ve been making efforts to drag myself outside the flat in search of light and sound, and at least hints of moving air. Being around people, talking online, keeping busy, these have all kept my brain shaken from the old tracks. So thats a good thing, possibly even means I’m learning to look after myself.
That said i didn’t really put it all together until counselling this evening, but then that’s what its there for.
I was just having a post D&D session chat with myr s and Lady B via the wonders of Discord and the topic turned to ways of dealing with the grey blur of days in lockdown.
As I rambled through the sorts of things I’ve been doing, I had a bit of a realisation: that most of the small things I do in the house involve moving little bits around to present vistas. I’ve been rearranging the placement of groups of funko pops, or rearranging books in their shelves, or moving minor pieces of furniture. At first I thought it was just lazy tidying, but there’s something more interesting going on.
One of the things I’ve learned while managing libraries is that displays and notices need to be varied in placement and composition quite regularly. This is because people very quickly get used to them and overlook them. Why? Well apparently its related back to our prehistoric roots where pattern recognition evolved as survival hinged on spotting things out of place that might be a predator.
When we see something new, our attention catches to assess if it is a threat or opportunity, before being relegated to known background while we search for the next anomaly.
During more normal times, going out keeps the brain fed with new stimuli to process and assess, but at home we start to climb the walls because we’ve assessed the normal surroundings as safe and yet that primitive part keeps screaming that we just haven’t spotted the tiger yet.
So, I’m in a process of keeping my living space and activities in flux to satisfy my brain’s inherent paranoia. It seems to work, and probably explains why I find data cleansing both easy and a high stress activity.
There’s probably a good debate to be had there that its not so much a matter of a low boredom threshold as ongoing hypervigilance on my part, because reasons.
I was just settling to sleep when I realised that I was supposed to have a rescheduled counselling session via Zoom today.
Now, even given I ate a whole bunch of grapes and knocked myself into a diabetic sugar snooze, there’s no sign of a missed call or querying text so I guess my counsellor forgot too – or at least got distracted by something else.
I’ve been quite productive today but I’ve noticed a growing sense of anxiety and exhaustion around the work I’ve been doing – so I’ve opted to take some leave. This may seem odd given there’s a worldwide lockdown in place, but for my own wellbeing I feel I need to commit to not dialling in to work remotely for a few days next week.
Lady M has also booked some time off from her work for similar reasons. We would have been going to Portsmouth Comiccon and possibly looking at next week off to recover anyway, so in the grand scheme of things its not too different from what we would have been planning.
Its thoughts like that which remind me just how the convention and cosplay circuit has been hit, and by extension our little hobby and our connections with the friends we’ve made there.
Its why I’m continuing to get involved with daft cosplay collaborations – yes its fun to dress up and be silly, but the conversations and planning behind the scenes have been wonderful for keeping in touch and celebrating the creativity and oddness of us all.
If it raises smiles and lightens people’s days during lockdown then all the better, and I can take heart from that.
I’ve been feeling out of sorts most of the day – a combination of head fog and a rattling in my chest that I can’t quite pin down to heart or lungs. It’s only really been the last half hour that I’ve decided its the lungs, but the worry hasn’t helped me through the day.
Sensing that I wasn’t too perky, Lady M prescribed pizza and daftness – which is how we’ve just finished a double bill of Marvel films: Antman and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel and it has done the job of distracting me and raising my spirits through music and light banter. Just what I needed to switch the worry centres off.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Antman films. I love heist films, and the daft childlike spirit of the original and its sequel are like a comfort blanket – largely because of the ensemble cast who seem to be having fun making them. That sense of fun shines through more and more when I watch Captain Marvel too, despite the efforts of the space fascists (Kree) to be oh so serious. They’re not high art films, and they know it, and when I need a distraction that just fits the bill – and I say that as a very very long-term Marvel fan.
Well, I’m not sure what happened to this morning – there was much sleepiness and fuzzy electric brain fog, so we roused briefly and then collapsed for a few more hours on the sofa. I now have coffee, a small amount of chocolate, and the balcony door open to pass a breeze through the room.
I’ve been trying to keep to relatively work-normal sleep patterns, but my body and brain obviously decided that was not to be today. On the plus side there’s still enough food and drink in the house to not have to go and do battle with the supermarket or anywhere else at least until payday next week so as long as I can continue to resist buying things online then we’re all good.
That said I have been tempted by some of the Kickstarter campaigns, especially those where their deadlines are after payday – and I may have backed some things that I think will be helpful both as prompts for the tabletop gaming, but also as writing hooks. That reminds me – I have story dice knocking around in the other room, I really must break those out while I actually have some spare time.
So in retrospect, I really must have needed that extra sleep because my brain, just in the course of writing this, has switched over into creativity buzz mode. I finished the envelopes of nice things for the DDC last night but have missed the limited post office opening hours locally so will have to dive out first thing on Monday to get those out. I think therefore that there may have to be some writing perpetrated.
I’m not a fan of doing huge amounts with spreadsheets even as I acknowledge how powerful and versatile they are. This is mostly due to my number blindness which makes reading and recalling number sequences something akin to wrestling an oiled python.
Currently however that’s what a significant part of the day job entails, so I am now very pleased to have a couple of days off for the weekend – being able to remotely work has brought the advantage of bringing some form of structure to the week after all.
I’m hoping to use the weekend to get some letters off the DDC as a general nice thing for people. I’ve hand written some missives with a drop pen and calligraphy inks on some traditional paper-milled paper, and included a D&D game prop and a little present in the envelopes too.
I hope it brings a smile to everyone’s faces, but especially to myr s who is particularly struggling with lockdown isolation at the moment. Fingers crossed.