Epiphany or Reminder?

Given my recent illness issues (read: crazy-deep depression and crippling anxiety), I’d been wondering (nervously) what would happen when it was time for me to step up and Do Public Work again.

Yesterday was my first Handfasting ceremony of the year. People. Promises. Questions. Stepping up to lead and hold.

There was no fear. Nerves, as always, and intention set. But the pit of dark remained firmly closed.

I pondered this on the journey there. How could I be so calm, so ready, even excited? It seemed amazing.

A slightly dry, amused voice inside simply said: ‘Because this is what you do.’

There isn’t really a word for it yet (and we do need one). Priesting, ministry, chaplaincy. Service. Vocation. To myself, my Gods, my loved ones, and those who come to me, asking.

I’m here, doing what I should be doing, because I can, because I truly want to. That simple truth is beyond reassuring. A bit of a revelation, of something I perhaps already knew. Now I’ve been reminded.

The Handfasting was beautiful. And my feet feel sturdier on the path today.

This circulating meme struck a similar chord as well today:

Transformation, evolution… progress.

Onward.

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The Quiet Voice

So… in response to social media asking what’s on my mind. Here we go. A difficult truth.

My illness means that there’s a constant background hum in my head. A voice (or voices), on repeat, telling me You Can’t Do It. You can’t go on, there’s no point, just stop, you’re the worst, nobody cares.

Sometimes that noise becomes loud, overwhelming. Physical action (hiding, or at least getting to a place of safety) is necessary.

Right now, it’s telling me that nobody wants to see this. It’s not helpful, it’s just whingeing. Oh great, she’s off again. And that famous old retort known to depressed folk everywhere: Just Wanting Attention.

No.

This is how my mental illness manifests. People have asked, and some don’t believe it, but it’s true, and very real for me.

But…

If I’m able to cut through the noise, to listen carefully, there’s also a quiet but determined counter-voice. It just says ‘You Can. Keep going.’

It doesn’t always win. But I’m so glad that it’s still there.

My inner self hasn’t given up on me.

Still here.

[Insert Title Here]

This week has been difficult. I have written nothing, because I don’t want to remember the thoughts I’ve been having. But they were real.

Last week, Himself convinced me to buy a notebook. No big deal, I have many.

But this one is different.

This notebook is blank. Unlined. Bare pages. All waiting to be marked.

This book represents such a huge fear. Of making my mark and being wrong. Of mess, of failure, of ruining something that could have been more.

This is nonsense, of course. But like those awful thoughts that I’d rather forget, still real.

I want to mark these pages. I want to write, to draw, to sketch and scribble, with no judgement. I want those voices of illness to be drowned out by what I AM doing, rather than what I’m afraid to do.

My marks may be good or bad, but they will be mine. And true.

Battling onward. Still here.

Medicine

After a lovely weekend, this week has been tough.

But inspiration to keep going has come from many places.

The voices of friends, urging me on.

Book recommendations, connecting me to other worlds.

Hugs from dogs (mine and other people’s).

Walking through fog, and feeling its peace.

Seeing the creativity of others, and their willingness to share.

Parcels from friends!

Yesterday, I started some new medications. As I always get side-effects, lovely MH Doctor put me on a quarter of the minimum dose. She gets me 😂

Last night, I was feeling asleep at 8.30pm. Having to force myself to focus on anything. Worrying: ‘Oh no, not again.’

Today, I woke… feeling good. Not having to fight to do the most basic tasks. No tension headache. No brain-fog. Feeling as bright as the sky outside.

I have no idea how long this will last.

But for all of the above, all of the different types of medicine helping me hold on and continue my fight, I am so very grateful.

Caring

Today… so tired. Recovering from the past couple of days, perhaps.

What has kept me going is the love that has been sent to me. Seeing how people care. Friends I know well, those I only know via the Interwebs – their honest caring has been a lifeline to me.

Friends who send patterns for creative prettiness.

Those who send their own books, for amusement and distraction.

Himself, caring so deeply even when he is struggling.

Those who share words, pictures of furry family, funny madness and randoms to raise a smile.

I am so touched that people care. Especially when my illness is trying to convince me that I’m worthless.

You all put the lie to this, shining truth by reaching out. Never doubt the worth of your words, even when your own brain weasels start to bite.

Thankyou so much, dear friends. Your love and care is a gift beyond price.

Also, the expressions of your cats as many of you took their picture was its own peculiar gift 😂

xx