thewhitelily: (Lily)
The White Lily ([personal profile] thewhitelily) wrote2016-10-02 10:27 pm

Long and Sour

Oh Em Eff Gee.  Does my muse not see the title of this document I'm working on for the Honey flashwork?!  "Short and sweet" it says.  Short.  And.  Sweet.

And so of course it's completely diverged from the drabble I'd originally envisaged where Sherlock has a mildly metaphorical dream about being a bee trapped outside the hive in the cold and back in Baker Street John pulls a blanket over him, and it dived *straight* for grief and mourning and angst and there is no freaking blanket in sight.  At least there's no Reichenbach.  Yet.

And it's refusing to end, so I'm going to have to keep writing until something vaguely resolvey happens.

---

Perhaps it's not surprising that my writing's off track, because I'm having... issues at the moment.  Mental health ones.

I should have known it was getting out of hand after what was happening with The Wrong Kind of Snow.  I'm having what I might call an episode, and it's been quite bad for the past few days.  It's getting to the point where the nameless dread just overwhelms me until I feel like I'm choking.  Where the procrastination gets so bad that I can't achieve anything at all until the very last minute or into overtime.  Where I can't stop what I'm doing and go to bed because somewhere in the whole falling-asleep process there would have to be a non-zero period of time where my mind would have to stop focussing on something and sit at its own mercy, so I stay up all night reading fanfic and not enjoying any of it because I feel too awful for even that to blot it out--to blot me out--but I can't stop because if I do then it'll all come rushing back all at once and that will be so much worse.  Where when a bad thought comes--and they come often--I confuse the kids by shouting or having a mini-fit at myself with my attempt to drown it out of my head before I can feel it.  Where I don't even know what I'm so desperately mortally afraid of because it's too terrifying for me to think.  Where I stop actually feeling like a real person so much as a robot inside a puppet body.  Where I sit next to my kids on the couch and read them a story and I can't feel them touching me and I can't feel any empathy with them and I can't do anything other that wish I that didn't exist.

Yeah.  Last few days it's got pretty bad.  To be clear, I'd never harm myself (or my kids).  I'm not that particular kind of unwell.  When I get like this I'm just... paralysed.  And empty.  I blot myself out mentally, any way I can.  And I still appear completely functional from the outside even when everything's gone white on the inside.

I know what the solution is, because I've been through therapy for this before.  The time when I went convinced I was going to have to be medicated for OCD, but the solution was simpler than that.  I don't need medication, I just need to be brave enough to let the monsters out into my head and look straight at them.  To let them do their worst, and put them in perspective so I can see that it's only the brain chemistry feedback loop that's winding them up to seem so bad.  And then start practicing mindfulness again, because as much as I hate doing it, it works.  But it's hard to get to a state where you can face being mindful when it physically hurts to consider stopping what you're doing long enough to let a genuine emotion cross your mind.  And it's hard to make myself do it when I know the solution's so simple that I could do it any day.  Perhaps even tomorrow.

It's not even the things themselves that I'm worrying about, it's the chemical state I've worked myself up into by being too frightened to let myself worry about things for fear of discovering my worries are right.

Futureproof has such awful power over me.  Awful, awful power.  But it's just a book.  In it and all the other decisions that I'm trying to make that have brought me to this, they're just decisions.  Not about anything that matters.  Not about anything I can get wrong.

Opportunity cost versus the opportunity at hand.  Those are the worst kind for me.

There's a pair of gorgeous Siamese kittens that I've found.  We've been looking for a while for some that suit us.  In personality and colour and gender and location and the environment they've been raised, these are simply perfect.  They're both blue point, which are definitely among my top three colour preferences (being tabby point, lilac point, and blue point).  Blue's possibly my favourite, my favourite colour is that edge where a soft seagull grey fades into white, which pretty much describes a blue point siamese down to a tee.  (But then again, stripey tabby point is so striking, and we've already had a blue point.  There was a lilac tabby who we almost got, but... reasons, which I'm still a bit devastated about.)  Possibly it's even nicer that they're both the same colour.  (Although, high speed cat chases, and not being able to tell who is who at a distance.  Although... two identical kittens curled up asleep together.)  Seriously, brain, why are you worrying about this?

Colour doesn't matter, because personality personality personality, and personality these two will have in spades because they've been raised by a family with small children and regular handling, they sleep in a six-year-old's bedroom, they're a bonded pair of only two in the litter, and they're not the least bit skitttish at chaos.  (Although who knows with cats, are we doing the right thing going for a pair of girls?  Last time with a boy and a girl turned out disastrous, and they grew up to hate each other.  Like, really hate.  Two girls are meant to be more trouble than mixed pairs--but I never want a cat that expresses itself by spraying ever again.  And Siamese really do best with a partner, even in a high-stimulation household like ours.)

They'll be ready to go home on my birthday.  My actual birthday, despite not looking for them for that particular purpose.  Clearly, they're meant to be ours.  This should be a happy thing, because we want them, because the kids will be over the moon to have their begging finally pay off.  But I can't enjoy the excitement because I can't stop turning it over in my mind.  And what's worse, I know it won't stop when we get them home.  Choices suck because they literally never settle in my mind.  I'll always look at these two and think... we could have got different cats.  Maybe we should have got different cats.  Maybe different cats would have been better.  Or maybe they wouldn't.  And maybe I should have called them by different names.  Because naming them, that's going to be a whole nother kettle of worms.  Which so doesn't matter because in the past our cats have always ended up being actually addressed by a pair of easy-identify monikers such as boy-cat and girl-cat or white-cat and grey-cat.  (Only these two will be almost freaking identical.  Thin-cat and thinner-cat?  Lighter-cat and darker-cat?  Who knows what they'll end up with.)  We've got three pairs of proper names, the kind that actually go on collars, as frontrunners, and I just can't face the idea of choosing despite how very little it matters.

Because there's something fundamentally wrong with me that I can't even look at our children and call them by their names without thinking "I could have called you something else, maybe I should have called you something else, is it really really too late to change your name, I mean I like your name, but I'm not sure I liked it more than some of the other options, but now it's too late isn't it, I can't change your name, I just wish I knew whether it was the right decision."

Writing, at the moment, is like making that choice on every single word.  Like walking through a world where every choice screams its potential to get it *wrong* at me.  It's hard.  And it's not fun writing like this.

Fuck anxiety.  Seriously, fuck it.  What right does it think it has to intrude on my ability to love my kids like that, and with my ability to do the things I love?  To make me feel like a passenger in my own body?

Only the right I give it.

So yeah.  I'm going to have to stop being such a wibbling wimp, face my shit, and put mindfulness back on my daily habits list.  *sigh*

---

I've sort of been writing this in parallel with my flashwork, which is now finished and posted.  I was hoping that finishing a sweet little flashwork might help settle my mind, but despite making a very conscious effort to restart and go in a different direction and writing the start of literally twenty different takes on the prompt, still the only place I got to was angst.  But it's good angst.  Apparently I was carrying around more feels about the end of our last cat four years ago than I realised.  I was the one who took him to be put down when his heart failure progressed, and I held him while he died.  Possibly that's one of the things that the prospect of new kittens has been bringing up for me.  But I wrote it and--as happens for me--after people started reading it, I started feeling it, properly.  And maybe that's better for me than writing something happy.

And then, this evening, I made myself take an hour-long bath with no reading material and no urgent tasks or plot point obsessing, and I let the thoughts come.  And they were yuck.  And it felt awful.  But they were just thoughts, and when I let them come they really didn't make the anxiety worse.  Because it really isn't about them, it's about me, the way I work myself up to be more terrified of what I might think than I would be of the thought itself.  And even if I don't feel much better yet, I thought the thoughts and I'm still here, and that has to prove something.

[identity profile] nagi-schwarz.livejournal.com 2016-10-02 01:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I've never been where you are, but I am sorry you had to spend so much time there, and I am amazed at your own fortitude. And your writing has been so lovely.

[identity profile] thesmallhobbit.livejournal.com 2016-10-02 01:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I love your stories and the different take you have - and by different I mean the way you see things isn't the same as how I see things - because that's what excites me about my friends.

I can remember when you were doing JWP you said how it forced you to write without carefully considering every word, which was good, but very few people can keep that up. (I don't even do a full month of JWP!) So there comes a time when one slows down, but you did it and I'm sure you'll be able to do it again. And I'm delighted that even though your Fan Flashworks don't always go the way you've planned, you are still writing them. It is a great achievement.

[identity profile] ringlat.livejournal.com 2016-10-02 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)
That all sounds awful, but I'm going to be honest with you (or maybe I've said it before?), it's so much better that you can actually recognize that it's happening. I mean, no matter how bad it gets, if you "know" it's going on then you're not too lost. When you start thinking "this is just my personality and nothing can be done" or even "what are you talking about, this is normal", that's when things are reaaally bad...

I used to have huge empathy/sympathy problems, I basically just didn't feel them for other people. Eventually I discovered it was because I felt so bad myself (without realizing it, because I was like that from childhood). When my problems got better for the first time, I started feeling those emotions for the first time, and now i'm the type to cry at bad drama series. Oh and also if I eat junk food or something too processed in general, I get anxiety/depression-like symptoms (and a lack of concentration power) over the course of the next few days until it's out of my system.

I also used to have a lot of trouble making decisions but now I'm so tired from everyday life that I'm just like "screw it, just do something". I mean like, I don't worry over my essay topics for school anymore, I just write the first idea that comes to mind and wait to see if I fail the assignment. With bigger stuff (ex. getting rid of my citizenship, moving countries) i just think... as far as my knowledge goes right now, this is a good decision. i can't worry about the future or past anymore, i have to focus on how the present me can have the best or easiest time. i can daydream "what-if's" but they won't help me. i've spent the past 4 years daydreaming and none of them have come true. in the meantime, i'm wasting time.

your kids' names for example - if they dislike them, when they're older they can change them themselves. if for some reason you end up not liking the cats, you can sell them and get different ones (or get a different type after they die). even if you get into an incredible amount of debt, there's ways to get out of it. if you lose all your friends, you can in fact make new friends somehow. "things" aren't usually irreversable, even if they were the wrong decision, but "time" is irreversable...

i don't know if any of that helps or if i even conveyed my thoughts. self-discipline is really hard. mindfulness is also super popular in sweden.