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.

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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.

Colour

Today… I’ve mostly been battling. Anxiety, then panic, not helped by a rude (patronising) repairman who came to service some kitchen electrics.

Lately, panic has been my brain telling me that I have to do everything at once. All the jobs I have, why aren’t I doing them? And then the fear that if I try, I’ll mess them up… so I sometimes end up stuck, unable to move, unable to see straight, physically shaking.

Distraction is key when the ‘brain weasels’ try to take over. Books, movies, computer games… whatever works.

Yarn is tremendously helpful to me at such times. Knitting and crochet are tactile and engage the brain in a focused way. Simple patterns are sometimes the best (again, for fear of going wrong), although lace sometimes demands my attention to the exclusion of all else.

Today, I’m working on a relatively simple, ongoing project: Knit It Like You Stole It. Using beautiful CountessAblaze fingering wool, each stitch slips through my fingers, while the finished section sits warmly in my lap.

While black is always my go-to clothing preference, colours have proved themselves tremendously helpful to my mood in recent years. The vividness of this wool is soothing and inspiring; when I wear it, I find it calming. My shawls really are portable hugs.

Keeping me grounded today, when any little thing can send me spinning. I’m grateful for this, very much.

Healing creativity.

Winning

Sometimes – more often than not, in fact – the inspirations and hope of the day come from the smallest things.

Today, my morning was spent in a bad panic. Shaking, mostly, but otherwise unable to move without having to talk myself into it.

However, I’d acquired a checkup appointment with the local physiotherapist to give me a once-over, and I knew I needed to go.

(I have a long-term back condition, caused by typing too much, too fast, back in my PA days. I deal with it.)

With help from Himself, we made it down to the surgery. And as I told the lovely lady what I’ve been up to, she was so pleased!

By going to the gym, walking the dogs, even knitting, I was doing my best to help my body – and in healing it, keeping it flexible and motivating myself, I would help my mind. Which would then make me keener to do the exercise, attempt things and keep that positive cycle moving…

I felt like crying. Happy crying.

When you’re in a bad place mentally, all you want to do on some days is hide. Or apologise for anything. You’re a pain and hassle to everyone and should just go away.

But this lady heard me, properly hearing what I said, and reassured me that trying my best was doing the right thing. Because my attempts came from sound foundations, experience and knowledge of what I needed to do. Small steps lead to big ones.

Sometimes that reassurance is the greatest gift. You won’t hear yourself, but truths told by trusted outsiders can hit home.

Feeling like I CAN do it.

Also nice to know that I am doing the best for myself in physical healing terms.

Battling on. Buoyed up by such support. Gym later, and I’m looking forward to it 😊