Irish Writers in London Summer School: 13 June-19 July

A wee plug for this!  Firstly because I’m one of the writers (hello! 26th of June should you want to hear my blather) and secondly because I think it’s quite a unique course.  For lovers of Irish literature, here’s a treat for you!

18th Irish Writers in London Summer School

13 June – 19 July 2013



First established in 1996, the summer school runs for two nights a week for five weeks and provides an informal but informative setting for students wishing to study Irish literature over the summer. Each week a set text is discussed in class on Tuesday evening and the following Thursday, the author reads and/or speaks about it to students.

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When you find the changing seasons affect you without reason

So, not posting the thing my husband wrote as he isn’t comfortable.  It was about looking after your own mental health and his experiences with his own mental health. In a nutshell! Just pretend you read it. WordPress psychosis.

With that not being posted, HOORAY! It’s summer, sort of! HURROO, is anyone else’s sleep completely messed up?  I’m knocking out a good 3 hours a night, even with medication, and it’s starting to get to me. The medication dulls me still so I’m not hyper, just twitchy and shattered and with a face increasingly representing a pug’s.

Please bring me food and water and a blanket and some sort of large cup of something I AM TOO TIRED TO THINK

I need to go to bed right now, but I also need to eat something as I haven’t since 3pm.  I am too tired to cook, and too tired to move off this sofa, so I may have to eat the sofa. (Insert fibre in your diet AAAAAH joke here).

I don’t think the mood disordered are alone in finding that their sleep deserts them when the seasons change.  But it is a pain in the hole.

This is a bit of a pointless update.  I AM FLIPPING KNACKERED!

Seven years since my days died

I have something from my husband to post but it needs editing so not yet.

It was my dad’s 7 year anniversary on Friday. We walked down the aisle to the song we played at his funeral.

He died in 2006 from alcoholic liver failure at the age of 47. I have numerous friends older than my dad at his death. I spent the day in bitter reminiscence at the disgusting way he and my family were treated as he was dying because he was an alcoholic. I have no experience but I’m willing to bet the families of cancer patients aren’t asked why they didn’t stop them and pushed roughly aside by staff and treated with the utmost disgust and disdain. Willing to bet their dying dads with heartbroken children weren’t treated as though their dying was their fault. My dad’s death was the most painful event of my life and they made it worse. My big sister Paula was there for most of it and she has far more tales to tell. I am bitter and I always will be. Even more embittered at “mental health activists” who rant against stigma yet treat people with addictions like scum unworthy of help. Attitudes like yours helped isolate my family and contributed to my dad’s death. Cheers. There is no hierarchy of suffering and help. If you want people with schizophrenia to be treated humanely and to have access to services, same should apply for addictions and personality disorders, considering how everything is linked. No exceptions. People who overdose can get new livers. My dad couldn’t (but George Best could) and endured being told that and knowing with certainty he would die.

Robert looked after me but have felt fragile all weekend. My dad’s anniversary is always a time for reflection. The past year has been so hard. I wish he had been here. I had a drink in his honour. Even more in his honour, I stopped at that one.

So that’s me, proper blog soon.

Now I Am Six: Happy birthday to my blog!

But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever;
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

I missed my blog’s sixth birthday! Sorry, m’blog! It was in February. SIX YEARS! That’s an elder statesman blog. No wonder I can’t keep up with all you young hoodlums and your fancy domain names and your twitters and cookbooks. You’re all out there using hashtags and I’m pushing a hoop down the street with a stick thinking it’s my cat.

This is what Facebook looked like in 2007. I’M OLD.

Six years of blogging here. I think this blog was one of the first mental health blogs in the UK. It was started when blogging was really beginning to take off as a platform outside the realms of places like Livejournal and Xanga. I didn’t even really intend for this blog to be widely read; I never advertised it anywhere and only linked to it on my own Livejournal. So I’m surprised now, 6 years later, it’s amassed over 1 million hits! And had a radio play based upon it, which I still find so very weird! Weird! But lovely. Many odd, interesting, “Oh!” and, “Hooray!” things have happened as a result of this blog, and I’ve met many odd, interesting people as a result of it.

Mental health blogging has taken off since then. There are many more blogs now, and many more blogs out there that are better than mine. It’s fantastic to see a whole generation of people with mental health issues speaking out- honestly, openly and, to be honest, rather fascinatingly. They’re windows into the rooms of places whose doors are locked. You don’t have to a great writer to start a blog. You don’t even have to be a good one. It doesn’t have to be for anyone but yourself if you don’t want it to be. But I have found immense value in writing here. I’ve tried to pull away, many times, but this is my blogging home. It feels comfy. And, despite some arsehole trolls over the years, it feels safe. It’s one of the reasons I’ve kept it almost exclusively about mental health, as it’s my safe place to talk about it. It isn’t this clanging anchor I drop into conversations here; it’s the purpose. It’s full of scattercushions and dogmarked photographs, of scrappy recollections and half-forgottens-then-found. I love seeing familiar names pop up in the comments, and new names, too. I like that I might have had a hand in popularising, “mentally interesting” and, “mentalist”, as they’re both delightful words. The latter in particular has been reclaimed by the blogging world.

If you’re looking for my first posts, you won’t find them, as I made about 500 posts here private when I was looking for work. And really, would you want everybody to read what you wrote on the internet when you were 21? But I will return them to their published form. Although I’m a wee bit scundered (Norn Irish for embarrassed and the name of my never-to-be-published autobiography) by some of it, I’m not ashamed of any of it.

I was a baby when I started this blog. 21 years old with the life experience of a fifty year old but with the emotional maturity of a 15 year old. I had just weathered the duel storms of my father’s death and the hospitalisation that led to my diagnosis and the seven year long (so far) wrestling with treatment and the mental health system. The tagline of this blog used to be, “Navigating the labyrinth of NHS mental health services”, which I found my way out of in 2011. I, like a lot of people my age, have grown up online. I’ve kept journals since I was 12, and for me, the internet is partly an extension of that need to record. I kept my teenage diaries in fitful loneliness, longing to share my thoughts with something else other than paper. Which probably accounts for why I have the tendency to overshare a little! But I love being able to find a date and look back. My memory is legendarily awful and here is my six years of dropping stones to see which path I took, and how.

A lot has changed. I’m 27 now, but I feel as though I’ve aged another decade to that. Within the past four years particularly I have changed a lot. My life is fairly unrecognisable to how it was; I am still the same person I’ve always been (as evidenced by my dress sense failing to evolve from the one of my 14 year old self), but a quieter one. I sometimes miss the whirling dervish I was, but it’s still there. Emotionally, I’m a grown up now. I used to fear that mortally, but now I have no nostalgia for my past self in that sense.

I’m married, to someone I absolutely did not expect to be, I am, for the most part, ten times healthier than I was when I started this blog (and ten times fatter, alas!) I’m still messy and mental, but I prefer the person I am now to the person I was then. I always feared growing older, but didn’t anticipate the hugging hum of peace and confidence that comes with it. When I look back, there are so many times I was on the precipice of disaster, and I am thankful I never took that step and let life unfold. When I look back, there is more happiness than I imagined I would have.

Life hasn’t turned out as I expected it to, and there have been a few opportunities I have let slip through my fingers. I need to write more and work harder at that, and to do more with my life in general. I enjoy the standing still sometimes, though, the intake of breath before the drop.

So, a lot has changed! But I’m still here! I couldn’t have said, with any confidence, that I still would be 6 years later. Hooray and tough luck!

And a massive, huge thank you to everybody who has stuck by me all this time. You’re all so very soft and sexy. I hope that some who have come here in grief have found peace, and those who have come for help have found it. Much love, and if I’m still blogging here in six years, please, pull me off the internet, drive me to the countryside and abandon me in the woods to frolic with cartoon deers.


Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part Two

Allie disappeared after Depression part 1. 19 months later, she’s thankfully reappeared with this.

It’s the most accurate thing I’ve ever read / seen about depression.  I want to print it out and hand it to those close to me, for the times when I don’t have words. 

And it’s funny.  Go read!

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