Mental Health Moments February

linkuplogoWelcome to the first monthly Mental Health Moments link up. Do you suffer from mental health problems, live with some one who does? Recovered from mental health problems? Let’s write about it, talk about it, connect and support. That’s the aimed of this link up at least. Add your blog post to the linky below and check out some of the other blog posts. Add the code to your own blog post too.

Here is my post for the month:

So bit by bit I’ve been coming off my Tegretol. I started in September by going down from 800mg to 600mg, went down to 400mg in November and have been on that since. With Christmas and New Years I decided to just level out for a little while as I struggle with the holidays a little, and work was busy and I went to Coventry (I never did mention that did I?) so it was better than coming down another 200mg.

Cathartic pills? Can I still get these?

Cathartic pills? Can I still get these?

But I’ve had this box of 200mg sitting on my dinner table for a few weeks (I was taking just one 400mg tablet a day to use them up so not to waste them). I finished the last of these a couple of weeks ago and opened up the fresh box of Tegretol.

That was two weeks ago.

Since then…nothing.

Okay, no, not nothing. At first glance it seems like nothing is different, because nothing really is different. I mean, life continues on much as it ever does – in complete chaos and I carry managing as I ever do – relatively well.

The headaches haven’t been too bad, I had my period and didn’t get my usual three day headache and have only had a couple of tiny headaches over the past couple of weeks. I think those were because I need my eyes testing – I’ve had a reminder about it but not actually been and now I’m feeling it, the extra strain, not quite being able to see everything as well as I did. They get tired quicker than usual. Well they get tired more often I should say. It used to take much more use to cause any strain.

So no more headaches than I was expecting anyway.

More shaking.


The current dose.

No actual full blown panic attacks but I’ve been waking up shaking again. It happens from time to time anyway, but it’s been pretty regular over the last couple of weeks. And while those weeks have involved some anxiety, no more or less than usual. But I wake, shaking, right through to the very core of my body. It’s not as bad as when I wake up already in the middle of a panic attack – that hasn’t happened for a while – but it’s not nice. It’s hard to get up when you start the day like that, I just want to bury myself further into the bed and wait until it goes away, until the shaking stops, until it all stops and I can get up.

A few years ago I would’ve done just that. Crawled further into my duvet and gone back to sleep. Now I fight it and get up, shake it off.

Now I can shake it off.

My sleep in general has been a bit messed up. I feel more tired than usual, not sleeping as well, had a bit of insomnia again the other night and I’m not entirely convinced I am really resting when I am sleeping.

The nightmares haven’t been much fun though. I have weird dreams regularly, and on occasions have nightmares, but they’ve been more frequent

It will pass though.

Already my body has started to acclimatise to the new lower dose already. And everything will settle and soon I’ll have to go back to the doctor to get 100mg tablets. Not for a little while though, lots going on at work, at home, so I’ll let everything calm down before I lower it again.

I would totally trust this dog to dispense my medication.

I would totally trust this dog to dispense my medication.

My only worry is something that occurred to me recently – I hadn’t even considered it before. I worry about my mania. It’s not really something I suffer from any more, little bouts of hyperactivity and/or mania that can last anything from an hour to a day. Nothing serious, never too out of control, it’s part of BPD though, but enough that I worry about it coming back.

I started taking the Tegretol after begging for something to help control my mood – specifically my anger. Part of my way of dealing with my anger was to self harm, but I would have the occasional outburst – directed at whoever upset at breaking point, rather than who was really making me angry. Plus I just had no control over how I felt, how my mood worked and I was desperate. So I was offered Tegretol and I took it because the Seroxat wasn’t enough.

If I stop it completely, is it a risk. I still feel the edges of it sometimes. What if the Tegretol is the only thing stopping me from being manic?

I think, I hope, that if it were going to happen I would’ve noticed by now. I’ve gone down from 800mg to 200mg. It’s quite a lot, when you think about it, but so far I remain the same person I have been over the past few years. Happy, hopeful, honest.


I’m not worried enough to stop reducing I suppose. I worry. I am a worrier. I am anxious, regardless of how much therapy I’ve had and how many meds I take. But I manage well enough, I struggle rather than suffer and I think that makes all the difference.

I think that makes all this possible.

Check out some of the other blogs in the link up.

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Poem: Appropriate Jealousy

When she’s kissed
she’s alive,
wanted and wanting
and I am jealous.
I am never alive
not kissed, nor loved, not held.
I am.
This is all.

Little comments
that dig at my soul.
Little kisses
that inflate her ego.
Rightly so.
I am jealous.
Right so.

He is nothing.
So I am neither.
She is everything
and I would kiss her
if she accepted.

She remembers every moment
every kiss with clarity.
I barely remember
how things were
before the turn and tangle
of his words.

I would kiss her
if I wasn’t so twisted
and she weren’t so valuable.
She’s alive when she’s kissed.

My lips would kill her.


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Fiction: Denial – Kara and Etta

lost&found_badge wood v3 MEDWritten for the Lost & Found: Valentine’s Edition blog hop.

Kara doesn’t think it’s love.

Not at first, not for a long time. She knows love. Knows how it feels – she’s sure of it. This doesn’t feel like that. She loves Etta, her parents, her brother Lewis but this doesn’t feel anywhere close to the same. This is all fear and anxiety and blushing whenever Rochelle looks her way.

Kara isn’t magic. She works in an office. She reads history books and does boring admin work. She’s never been the interesting one, ever, but the way Rochelle looks at her is interesting. Curious. Analysing. The way she moves around the apartment Kara shares with Etta, always in Kara’s periphery, always careful not to disturb her too much but always catching her attention.

It takes her breath away. That awareness.

Rochelle is magic like Etta, but nothing like the other woman who Kara has known all her life. She hardly knows Rochelle at all, she sees her once a week, has known her a few months. But this feeling, it burns sometimes, and she’s never felt anything like it, anything so intense. Rochelle is quiet, even when she and Etta are practising spells in the living room, even when she’s laughing at Etta turning her hair green by mistake or giving herself a moustache. She’s quiet, contemplative and Kara finds that more attractive than any of the young woman’s curves.

When the other mage talks to her, she can’t help but smile, a warmth that spreads through her and settles in for the rest of the week, fading slowly until she sees her again and it starts all over again.

Rochelle never indicates anything more beyond curiosity.

Kara doesn’t know what to do. This feeling, burning bright behind her eyes, and in her chest has her reeling sometimes. She feels dizzy and thinks she might fall over and she’s annoyed more than anything that this woman has such a strong effect on her. That she suddenly becomes to weak.

When Rochelle kisses her one day and she wants to be weak suddenly. Weak against Rochelle, weak with her, for her. She feels alive for the first time. Every nerve is aware of something intangible and she wonders if it’s a spell, something the other woman is doing other than kissing.

Except Rochelle blushes just as hers as Kara feels she is and stutters when she speaks, when she apologises. Apologises for kissing her and Kara doesn’t reply, can’t reply, just kisses her back because she wants to. It’s been too long since she’d kissed anyone too long since she wanted to kiss anyone. She didn’t even know she wanted to kiss Rochelle until those dark soft lips were moving against her own rough pink ones and her arms are around the mage’s waist.

There’s a buzz then, a little ripples of electricity over her lips and when she pulls away Rochelle is giggling. Giggling ans the sound causes the same sensation as the spell and even then Kara doesn’t think it’s love – maybe something like it, something close but not love.

Then Rochelle and Etta go missing.

Kara’s pretty sure she’s dying at first.

Her skin feels taut, she feels like she’s being pulled apart, her heart is beating but it feels off-centre, off-rhythm.

Nothing is quite right.

Etta is her best friend. She understands that pain, it’s akin to when her brother almost died. She understands the worry, the possible loss, the dull way in which the world ticks by.

She doesn’t understand why Rochelle being missing magnifies it, means that while her heart isn’t beating right sometimes she can’t breathe at all Rochelle is gone too – Rochelle. Is. Gone.

She’s pretty sure she’s fainted once or twice but it’s hard to differentiate between that and passing out from exhaustion whenever she sits and on occasion stands.

It all comes together when she and Micah find both mages.

She’s alive again, Rochelle is alive and so is Kara.

She kisses Rochelle, hands on her cheeks, dark skin a little pale from their time in captivity and she’s never looked so beautiful and the way she feels about having this woman back is the same for Etta. And heavens it’s so perfect, to have them both within reach again, wrapping both an arm around each woman, even as Micah holds tightly onto Etta’s hand and tries to pull her into an embrace of his own.

This is perfect, this love, and she dots kisses over Rochelle’s face, even as she sways from her own exhausted and giggles at the way Kara treats her.

She doesn’t tell her. Doesn’t tell her she loves because she can’t, can’t trust her voice. She can already feel a few tears falling.

“I missed you,” Rochelle says.

“Yes,” Kara mutters, hugging the mage close to her, face against her neck and kissing her again, mumbling the word over again.

“It’s okay my love,” Rochelle says, pulling back so they can look at each other. “It’s okay, I know.”

Kara isn’t sure what she knows, never really is but it doesn’t matter. She will know, eventually, Kara will tell her. Just not today, not now, in this cave in the middle of a broken down factory far from anywhere.

Perhaps when they’re home again.

Safe and sound and in love.

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Stars are
pinpricks of heat and light
that burn.
We are
desperate moths blind and lost,
Clear nights
call to us, beckon us with a
we can’t resist it
the desperate pull.
Stars are
pinpricks of heat and light
that burn,
until we are
turned away.


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Seven Things I Learned When I Stopped Wearing Bras

Grecian Bust Girdle!!

Grecian Bust Girdle!!

Warnings – Gratuitous use of the words nipple and boobs. 

It’s been eight months since I stopped wearing bras. I gave up on them last April after breaking my washing machine (for the second time) and after years of never being able to find a bra that fit. Did you know I didn’t even wear a strapless bra to my wedding – I wore a strapless dress and tucked the straps of my usual bra beneath the band of the bra. I couldn’t find a strapless bra that fit. Not without having on specifically made for me – which wasn’t going to happen. Can you even do that? Get bras tailored…

Apparently so.

Well, too late now. Not that I could afford it.

Anyway, it’s been a long time, and well I couldn’t even find one of my bras now even if I wanted to wear one.

So this is what I’ve learned.

1. No One Noticed.

1914 patent of a wrap around bra.

1914 patent of a wrap around bra.

No, really, no one notices. Unless I tell them, no one’s noticed. Okay, so sometimes it’s more obvious than others – depending on what I’m wearing. Vests show a lack of straps but this sort of implies people are staring at my shoulders and not my boobs. And that assumes people are staring at my boobs. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not, but most people I tell seem to be surprised.

I wear a uniform at work – relatively thick and shapeless – so it’s really no different from when I was wearing a bra. The rest of the time I usually wear t-shirts and jeans.

Like I said, there are a few tops I own that make it a little more obvious but I haven’t stopped wearing them because they are just my breasts and I’m not wearing a bra for the sake of wearing one of my favourite or lighter tops.

2. I Became Very Aware Of My Nipples

Statuette of Venus unwrapping her breast-band.

Statuette of Venus unwrapping her breast-band.

Especially at the beginning. Especially when it’s cold. To be fair  when it’s cold I am always aware of at least one nipple because one usually hurts a little when it gets too cold. But only one at a time. I’m weird like that.


I am very aware of my nipples sometimes. It’s that paranoia that everyone can see them, will seem them and will laugh at them. Which is daft because everyone has nipples and nipples are great for many, many reasons.

But still, I’ve become more aware of them, though this is decreasing as time goes on and mostly centres around that cold period just after I eat my lunch at work (it’s cold in that break room).

3. I Got Used To It Really Quickly

I don't really know what's going on here...

I don’t really know what’s going on here…

It became normal really quickly. I’ve not worn a bra at home for years now. I put it on to leave the house (well, to leave the village) and took it off when I come home. I wore bras to work, to town, for shopping, to visit people. Not I don’t. It’s just the next step and if I can do less of something then I’m happy.

Unless that something is sleeping.

But there was no hesitation, no debate, no thinking about whether I should put one on in the morning (afternoon) or not. I just didn’t. Every day. For eight months. At some point I stopped being aware of the fact that I’m not wearing a bra and not putting a bra on.

I haven’t really thought about it for months. Since the last job interview.

After the interview, I took it off and felt like I was myself again. I thought about the bra and my boobs more in that hour than I did the entire week.

4. The Physical Effects Are Awesome.

Safety bras for women workers - plastic bras.

Safety bras for women workers – plastic bras. No really…

My back doesn’t hurt. There is no rubbing. No more red marks.

I suffered through all these just to support breasts that really don’t need holding up. Every time I took my bra off it was like I could breathe again, and my entire body could relax. My bra tightened my entire body up into a ball of knots and without my entire back is much easier. I can’t even remember the last time my back hurt because of my bra. It hurt last week because I spent a couple of hours hunching over a desk, but before that my back hasn’t hurt for months.

Plus I feel like I can breathe. Always (well, not always cause of the anxiety and the asthma).

5. Except I Got Sweaty Boob Rash

Is that a stick??

Is that a stick??

I’m 33, and overweight, so my breasts no longer sit nice and high on my chest like they did when I was 23 (if they ever did, I’m not sure I remember all that well). So just beneath, during the summer I got a little hot and sweaty and got a little rash.

To be honest, I wasn’t bothered. I’m prone to heat rash and eczema anyway and this can happen wherever there is chaffing or sweating. It’s a simple enough to deal with – just need some cream for the pharmacy.  To prevent it I just put a bit of deodorant under my breasts on hot days.


6. I Feel Less Feminine

I don't really know what's going on here either...

I don’t really know what’s going on here either…

This may definitely just apply to me, but without the bra I feel more masculine, which I find comforting because while my body is exclusively female, my mind isn’t. I often find myself in what I call ‘boy mode’, so wearing a bra isn’t appreciated during that time. Without the bra I feel more like a woman and more like a bloke. When I’m feeling more feminine I don’t need the bra to do that, or help. I tend to wear make up (just a little) and whatever else I decide at the time.

The bra was just part of a restriction to my gender identity in fact, without if I feel able to be much more fluid and I’m much happier with that.

7. No More Shopping For Bras!

I think I would wear this as a top.

I think I would wear this as a top.

This one is pretty obvious and to be honest mostly just here cause I really hate shopping for clothes. No more searching for the a size that doesn’t exist, no more searching for a size that might be close. No more searching for anything to wear. No more buying bra extenders because the bras I do have sort of fit but not quote.

No more of those extender getting lost in the washing machine and breaking it – which is how this entire thing started.

So What Should You Do.

If you’re a b-cup or under, give it up. Just try it – for a week, a day. Go into town bra-less and see how you manage. Definitely give up wearing it at home (does anyone wear it at home – I used to). Seriously, why are you wearing a bra at home? Who you doing that for? Your cats? The hamster?

If you’re a c-cup and over, give it up if you can, give it a try, just for a week, a day. But I know that the bigger they are, the more they need the support, the more you want them supported – cause it hurts or it feels awkward or they move around to much. Or cause they’re in danger of escaping at any moment.

We’re still talking about boobs I swear.

My wife is about a D-cup, my sister an E (or more), most of the women on my mum’s side of the family have larger breasts. Bras are important. Bras are needed.

Get a good bra.

Save up, get fitted, spend time and money finding the one bra (that would’ve made Lord Of The Rings a very different film) that is the perfect, that means you can breathe and run and smile when you put it on. Time to really put the effort into your breasts.

Breasts are great, seriously, I love them. So I’ve started treating them right by letting them free but I know this isn’t for everyone.

So find whatever works for you. That million dollar bra or letting your old favourite gather dust in the underwear draw with the pants you don’t wear but don’t seem to get thrown away (you know the ones).

Either way be good to your breasts.

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Word Of The Year: Family

My mum and sister.

My mum and sister.

Over at Alphabet Soup, it’s time to chose a word of the year.

I didn’t think it was possible to do this. A word of the week maybe, a word of the day like those calenders, but a word for the whole year…I wasn’t sure I could that. A word that meant the whole year, would define the whole year before I’d even lived it?

Then I realised it was actually easier than I thought.


This is the year I start my family. Regardless of what happens with our attempts at having a baby, this is the year I put my family together even if it consists of me, my wife and some cats and chickens.

My niece and nephew

My niece and nephew

I don’t have it easy when it comes to family. Not their fault. Not my fault. I am too different from my family really, I’m not like my sister. She gets on with everyone, all my cousins and aunts and uncles and knows bloody everyone in the town where I work. She’s like my dad. He knows everyone.

I don’t know anyone.

I don’t talk to my cousins or my aunts or have a lot of friends. I’m not particularly social – I have some social anxieties and social problems – and instead of looking out I tend to look inward. My sister is the social butterfly, I am not like my mother. I have a few people around me and that’s fine by me. My mum manages to keep contact with friends and family better than I do mind but that’s okay, maybe when I’m nearly sixty I will too.

Probably not.

My best friend Mel and me.

My best friend Mel and me.

My family are not like me. I’m different – not because I’m bisexual, or even weird, I just am different on a very fundamental level that leaves me feeling a little lost with them sometimes. There are very few people in this world who I deal with long term, and very few people in this world who can deal with me too. And I’m not related to all of them.

So, instead of dealing with people who I love very much, I have surrounded myself with people I can deal with. My wife, my best friend Mel, my cats (okay, not people but easier to deal with than actual people). I’ve created my own little family that will hopefully grow over the year.

Me and my wife.

Me and my wife.

I’ve always been a big believer in family being what you make it.

You may love your family but you don’t need to be close to them all them time to do that. Hell, you don’t even need to like them that much (I like most of mine). Family is complicated and horrible and wonderful and hard work.

Even when you create your own.

Especially when you create your own.

So, this year is about family. No more or less than any other year, but this year it will be about my family, growing my family, loving my family.

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Haphazard Housework

I tackle housework in a sort of wing it, haphazard manner.

In that I probably make more mess in tidying up than I clean.

It’s not my fault. Really. I do most things in a wing it, haphazard manner, not just housework. It doesn’t seem to be the best way to go about life, it’s not necessarily done me good on occasion but it’s become pretty much an integral part of my character over the years. I’m late a lot, I start a lot of projects that I never finish. I leave my tea bag in my tea when I drink it. I’ll spend all day playing video games and then the last hour before my wife comes then I clean up…

I’m not sure it’s sustainable.

Bill Bailey observing his washing up at the end of  his Part Troll show.

Bill Bailey observing his washing up at the end of his Part Troll show.

I get more water on me than the plates when I wash up.

I wash up a bit like a maniac. My wife has seen me wash up a lot, though she pointed out she had never seen me ‘prepare’ the washing up before. And by prepare what she means is pouring washing up liquid all over the dishes from a height. Sometimes from a foot in the air. Just cause I can. And it’s fun. I mostly get everything clean. that’s the important things right? Like 90% clean…alright, 80% clean. I never said it was one of the things I was good at.

I also get water everywhere.

On the floor, on the cats, on myself.

I always, always have this dark wet spot on my t-shirt over my podge from where water has splashed onto me. Either because I had the tap on a bit too fast or because the water has hit a spoon and gone mental. The podge gets in the way from time to time.

Irons from the 1800's - either this of a picture of the podge.

Irons from the 1800’s – either this of a picture of the podge.

When I was ironing, I burnt my podge.

Okay, so I was ironing in my pants. I do a lot of things in my pants. And by pants, for Americans, I don’t means a pair of trousers. I do actually mean my underwear. I was ironing in my pants though the exact reasons escape me – I suspect I may have bee ironing the trousers I was going to wear. It wouldn’t be the first time. It won’t be the last time.

Anyway, in the course of ironing…something, I caught my podge on the end of the iron. The burn wasn’t bad, just in a odd place.

Though not as odd a place as when I burnt my breast – not while ironing. I was warming up a nipple on a cup of tea. I spilt the tea. That’s all you really need to know about that.

Anyway, I don’t really iron much – I enjoy it, but most of my clothes either don’t need ironing or are not the type of clothes that you iron. My nan used to iron my underpants but I only iron clothes I need for formal events. Well, formal events I can’t wear jeans and t-shirts to. I don’t really wear anything else beside my work uniform which only needs ironing if I leave it in the dryer for too long or if the cats have been asleep on it for a while. It also needs de-hairing then.

I used to iron my school uniform. Or, at least some of my school uniform. Like the collars of the shirt and the sleeves. Whatever huge creases had appeared in the trousers or skirt I was supposed to wear. Sometimes done last thing in the evening.

Or right before I was supposed to catch the bus.

Usually before I was supposed to catch the bus.

Will eat anything.

Will eat anything.

I’ve hoovered up a screwdriver.

I hoover in the same way as I do everything else in the house really – without really paying attention to what I’m doing sometimes. I like hoovering too, I really like the way it all looks so nice and clean when done, there are few things that make me feel better about my house then when I hoover it up.

Even if there is still clutter all over the table, books piled up next to the already full bookshelf, blankets and cushions askew on the sofa, the fact that the floor is clean is all that really matters. I’m not really sure why that is, but I can’t deny it makes me feel good. So as hard as hoovering up after four cats can be, the satisfaction I gain from it makes up for it.

I don’t always pay attention when I hoover. I just sort of go for it. Unlike when I wash up, there isn’t always preparation. I don’t always pick up the un-hooverable bits from the floor. I just turn the hoover on and go for it and if it’s on the floor it goes up the hoover. This has included: hair grips, pennies, cat litter pellets, wires, wool and entire socks (that’s socks plural).

The screwdriver wasn’t on the floor.

Don’t let anyone tell you that a Henry hoover is no good. I was hoovering up hamster fluff around their cages, we had eight hamsters at one point, and mostly boys who were flingers – throwing their fluff at each other. There was a screwdriver on the bookshelf where the hamsters were and well, then there was a screwdriver in the hoover.

It got stuck in the hose, and well, after that I stopped hoovering with the intention of telling my housemate Jen that I had got a screwdriver stuck in her Henry. Except I forgot and well, then she went to hoover up and it didn’t work.

Funny that.

Lesson learned: you can get a screwdriver out of the hose of a Henry hoover.

I have it much easier, yet I still don't put it away...

I have it much easier, yet I still don’t put it away…

I never put my laundry away.

Okay, strictly not true.

I swear I do a lot of laundry, sometimes I feel like the washing machine is always running. I’ve had it on today – a bag, my work uniform, some other bits and bobs. Then the dryer (an essential item in Wales), and well, it’s not going right now but there is almost an entire machine ready to go again.

There’s two of us. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when we have kids.

There’s also two baskets of clean laundry ready to be put away. I wear my uniform all week, and pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt during the evening. Jeans and a clean t-shirt when I go anywhere that isn’t work – which doesn’t happen much. It’ll get put away, my wife has found the best way to get me to do this is to place it all in a massive pile on our bed.

Especially when I’m still asleep in it.

It pretty much guarantees I have t put it away before I go to bed that night (though does not stop me from sleeping under the pile of clothes. To be honest, it’s winter and cold, and a giant pile of clothes it less annoying than the giant pile of cats I usually sleep under.

I never pair my socks either. All my work socks are black, so as long as they’re a similar shade of black I don’t mind if they’re a pair. And I’ll wear odd socks the rest of the time because who cares about my socks. If your life is so sad that my odd socks really make much of a difference to it, I can’t help you.

I may invest in one of these when I have kids.

I may invest in one of these when I have kids.

I set a tea towel on fire.

I don’t really cook. I don’t enjoy it on any level. I like eating certainly and have a mighty podge to show for it but I hate cooking. It’s boring. I’ve never enjoyed it enough to be any good at it – I have a few things I can make. Spaghetti bolognase, simple tomato sauce, white sauce for a tuna pasta bake and Corn-beef Hash. And variations on those things.

I find I’m very good at dishes that involve throwing things into a pan. Literally.

I don’t follow recipes very well, when I cook I go with what I’ve done for years – mixing it up by adding stuff randomly and seeing what happens. Growing up my mum cooked a lot once we moved to Wales, but I spent as much time with my dad who had one dish – spaghetti bolognase, made with spices that were about a decade out of date.

I tend to make a lot of mess in cooking, not always paying attention. Did you know you don’t need a naked flame to set a tea-towel on fire? No neither did I. I left it next to the cooker. Well, on the cooker. Well, on the electric hob, which was still on.

It promptly burst into flames.

Okay, small flames, but flames all the same.

I can’t even remember what I was making.

On top of this I’ve ruined my mothers brand new saucepan making burning popcorn, I exploded one of those microwavable rice packets by forgetting to open it and gave my ex food poisoning (not on purpose).

Luckily for me my wife cooks and loves to cook. She’s also very good at DIY.

One of the presents I got my wife for Christmas.

One of the presents I got my wife for Christmas.

I break more stuff than I fix.

Since I met my wife, I don’t think I’ve needed to fix anything myself. Which is handy because I break a lot of stuff. Not on purpose. I’ve always been really clumsy (she is too, but she can fix stuff).

I break door handles, cupboards, bits of furniture. The bed. Well, the bed just fell apart during some serious conversation. I’ve pulled hooks off walls. A lot of hooks. The toilet seat is currently broken too but I’m not entirely sure that was me alone but a culmination of people.


Luckily my wife is always prepared with a screwdriver to fix anything and everything.

I don’t just break things at home either. I have a bit of a reputation at work. Have at all my jobs. The clumsy one. I am the clumsy one. Wednesday I hit my head on a draw and I’ve broken a lot of plastic coverings for things. If something is broken, odds are it was me.

I’ve only been there a year…

I doubt I will change…much.

I’m better than I was. In that I actually do housework, like washing up. Or cooking. For the longest time I was living off microwave meals. For six months the only things I ate were instant noodles and salads from Tesco. I don’t have a great track record of looking after myself. it’s still a struggle and I know that when I have kids, I’m going to have to step up and really work at looking after them. Which may mean at least putting their laundry away…

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I Write Fanfiction (and I’m not ashamed of if) – Part Two

Me trying to remember a word. Any word. Leonid Pasternak - The Passion of creation

Me trying to remember a word. Any word. Leonid Pasternak – The Passion of creation

So a little while ago I wrote a post about fanfiction, that was a nice rant about why fanfiction isn’t shit or inferior. And how I write and read a lot of fanfiction. And always will.

In fact, over the past few months, I’ve been writing a lot more fanfiction than I have done for a little while. In fact, since I wrote that post I’ve written twelve fics of varying length. More than the rest of the year put together. I’ve been inspired, I could say, but more likely I’ve just been less apathetic than usual, or just been able to write. I’ve spoke about it before but I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s apathy. I have lots of ideas, they’re falling out of my brain every day, but I’m not always interested enough to write them. And until…September, I really wasn’t. I wrote sporadically. Now I’m writing a lot of fanfiction and no poetry.

That’s just the way my brain works.

Which is partly why I write fanfiction.

Everyone has their own reasons – for why they write, and for why they write fanfiction. For me, the main one, is quite simple.

I have to write.

I can’t not write. While my fanfiction writing has been sporadic, I’ve have been writing – unpublished bits of fanfiction for my own amusement, poetry, original fic, blog posts, all sorts of bits and bobs. I have been like this since I was around 14.  I find a lot of comfort in writing, especially in writing fanfiction for my own amusement for a couple of reasons.

I got through a lot of notebooks

I got through a lot of notebooks

On top of that, I’ve got all this stuff in my head all these words, all these ideas and all these thoughts and I do not have enough room for all of them. that’s why I often talk too much, reveal too much, because I can’t kept it in my head. It’s the same with poems, with stories, with blog posts. I do not have the capacity to keep it inside, keep it to myself. It has to come out or it drives me crazy. I obsess over it, and I obsess over so much already it’s better for my mental health just to get it out of my system.

It’s good for my mental health.

I like the escapism.

Strike that, I love the escapism. I need the escapism. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be someone else, be somewhere else – I have BPD, so until recently, my sense of self has been very shaky. I have only recently become comfortable with the podgy person that I am. And with the life that I am living. Until then, tv, films and fanfiction were my way of coping. Of taking me away, far away from all the crap going on around me and in my life.

I am comfortable with who I am now, but not everything is perfect. Never will be. And fanfiction still offers the same comfort and escapism it always has. It’s the one thing I can rely on to make me feel better and is definitely better for me than my medication and easier to come by than therapy.

Writing in general is good for my mental health. Blogging, poetry, stories. When I was 17 I wrote a story that was basically about myself, my life, but with a happy ending. I still have it. I’ve held onto it for all these years because it made me feel better back then and it’s more valuable than anything else I had at 17.

The Emerald Graves.

The Emerald Graves.

For some reason, writing down the daydreams I have, also seems to make them feel more real, or makes me feel better than if I were just sitting on the bus staring out the window and imagining I was in The Emerald Graves. But maybe that’s just what makes me a writer.

I want more representation.

I’m not straight. In fact, I’m very, very bisexual. This may be clear. I like woman. A lot. In fact I married one. I like guys too, but that goes without saying it seems cause I am a woman. It’s the assumption. But I really, really like women (also breasts). In most of my fandoms, there is a lack of LGBT representation. There are few gay relationships and it’s only in my recent obsession of Dragon Age that I get the representation that I want. That I should have. Dragon Age had all the colours of the LGBT rainbow and it’s wonderful. though that doesn’t stop me from writing bisexual Cassandra cause my god she is awesome. There aren’t enough bisexual characters, in fact, in media bisexuality is erased even in characters who are cannonly bisexual in their comic form (i.e Constantine). People who are bisexual are never referred to as bisexual. It’s like the word is poisonous.

I’ve talked about this before. There are millions of people like me, watching televisions shows and playing video games full of people unlike. It’s getting better for some people, but bisexuality seems to be stuck a little.

So, we write fanfiction. We write fanfiction, not necessarily to insert ourselves into the worlds we write, but at least someone we can look up. Someone we can empathise with, which is really important. It’s hard to find your way in the world, surrounded by so much media that’s full of straight white cis people. It’s hard to have heroes when all the good guys are so different from yourself. When people like you are erased from media, or bad guys, or head cases.

A wild bisexual appears!

A wild bisexual appears!

There are more stories to be told.

Television shows have more time to play with stories and characters, but films are limited. Games too. And there are ideas and scenarios and reactions that are just cut out, or not thought of, or not needed for the plot or just not included because, well, it’s not cannon. I’ve written fic that’s been reaction fic, the aftermath of an episode, the what if these people were a couple, what if these people were a couple.

Yeah, okay a lot of it is what if these people were having sex.

But beyond that the what ifs? are endless. What if the Leliana had met the Hawke siblings in Dragon Age? What if Jack’s son didn’t die in Stargate SG-1? What if Pepper had been in Iraq with Tony at the beginning of Iron Man? What if Rose hadn’t gotten stuck in the alternate Earth in Doctor Who?

Episode and scene inserts, add-ons, explanations in story form. Fanfiction expands and explains more than the actual media does sometimes.

It’s good for my ego.

The thing with fanfiction is that is offers instant gratification. Well, semi-instant. It kinda depends what fic you write in what fandom. I tend to write some popular pairings, but the bulk of the work is femslash or rare pairings, which isn’t the most popular in fanfiction for reasons that are beyond me (okay, I get it, just because I like women, a lot, doesn’t mean everyone does. Some people prefer men, what a novelty!).

Just before is all kicks off. Not in the truck - Pepper Potts

Just before is all kicks off. Not in the truck – Pepper Potts

Those fics that are popular pairings get read quickly and get comments, reviews and kudos (A03.orgs likes), love and reblogs (tumblr). And even the femslash gets comments and kudos and hits (cause I promote the hell out of it). And this makes me feel good. People tend not to bother to comment on stuff they don’t like, or think is shit (at least I don’t, and people don’t on my work) so it’s just reward. Write words, get nice words in return, feel good about yourself, write more words.

And trust me, I need all the validation I can get, because when it comes to fanfiction, I’m fighting a bit of a brick wall.

I can do what I like.

I am a big believer in freedom of choice – which is a post for another day – but with that comes the fact that I can write all the fanfiction I like. Okay, there may be some rules about what I can post and where, but I can write whatever the hell I want. It’s not like Bioware are going to rock up to my house, form a queue behind MGM, ABC, Marvel etc and demand all my notebooks, after wiping my accounts at A03,, tumblr and so on. I mean I suppose they can do that, but it seems unlikely. Mostly I’m just trying to feel better about the world, myself and get the ideas out of my head to make room for new ones.

So, I continue to be honest about what I do, everything I do – from writing fanfiction to sleeping in. Writing fanfiction isn’t something anyone should be embarrassed about, or ashamed of. No one should ever be ashamed or be made to feel shame over something they enjoy doing. Sometimes in this world there can be so little joy, so little to love and we should grasp whatever we have and make the most of it. Regardless of what other people think.

So I write fanfiction and probably always will.

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New Year, No Me

"Lotto Skyworks Applecross" by Nachoman-au

“Lotto Skyworks Applecross” by Nachoman-au

I don’t know how many times I have to say it, I don’t do New Years. I hate it, and I think the whole mentality around it is pointless.

Thing is, people don’t always want to hear it. I mean, for starters, I don’t actually know why I hate New Years Eve so much. There’s something so deep inside me, down to my very soul, that suffers at New Years but I don’t know why, when or where it started. It’s in that dark place, where everything I’ve forgotten is hidden. The worst of some things.

Oh and names.

There are a few awful things that have happened at New Years I can remember – some bad new years eves that do play on my memory, that pop back up as soon as Christmas is done with and threaten my recovered mental health.

I’ve cried through a lot of new years eves, drank through a whole bunch too. One year I drank so much I ran out of lager, so we decided to drink some wine. Except we didn’t have a corkscrew so we used a drill and then filtered the wine through a coffee filter. I can’t remember if I had to work the next day. I can’t remember much. I probably self- harmed.

I used to tell that story to make people laugh. It’s not funny though. I drank to try and forget how bad I felt. Not that it worked. Not that it ever worked. I don’t drink any more. Had a couple of beers at the work Christmas dinner. Two at Thanksgiving. That’s me for the year. Anyway.

That feeling, that something is wrong with me, my soul, my heart – I feel it every year. It never dulls, never lessens and only ends about half way through January. Unless I’ve been very busy at the beginning of January, enough to forget how sick I feel, how sick the world makes me feel.

The only thing that changes it how I cope with it, how I deal with all. That improves, that changes, day to day I manage well enough. I distract myself, I try and talk about it. I write slightly rambling blog posts and repeat the words – “I don’t do New Years” a lot. Mostly I try and treat it like any other day. I rarely stay up any more unless I’m watching something, I often have my niece and nephew, so I spend the evening with them. Get up the next day like it’s any other day. Tea, internet, xbox or work.

Public health poster from 1974 - today's homophobic insults just makes this funny.

Public health poster from 1974 – Remember? When fags were cigarettes?

Secondly, the other thing I hate about it are the improvements we are forced to make by society every January. Get fit, give up smoking, lose weight. Change this, change that. There are a couple of things wrong with this.

One, people can rarely be successfully forced to give up or drastically change their lifestyle. They have to want to do it, to be ready to do so. It’s okay if they’ve gone “You know what, it’s January I think I want give up smoking, I’ll finally do it,” but less so if a person has gone, “I suppose I should give up smoking.” Anyone who thinks they should do something, probabally isn’t going to get very far.

Not always the case, I know, but more likely.

Plus, if you needed to do something in January you probably needed to do it June, so why didn’t you. What stopped you then that’s suddenly different now? Without a reason, if nothing is different, then nothing will be different when you try to give up or change.

I should give up crisps and biscuits and that but I probably won’t cause I’m not ready. I needed to give up Diet Coca Cola long ago but have only just managed it – because not it makes me ill now. These past few months it’s just churned my stomach up. If I had tried in January, I would not have done so well.

Same when I gave up self harming, same as when I tried to clean my head up. It’s why some people managed and recovered after therapy and some people didn’t. I was ready to change my entire life. You have to be ready.

Having this January bullshit shoved down your throat will not make a damn bit of difference.

Plus it’s bloody winter. Who wants to get fit and healthy when it’s cold. Wait until June and it’s warmed up a bit. You might not want comfort food when it’s so nice and sunny and you’re getting all the vitamin D you need. When it’s so nice and sunny you can actually leave the house to exercise or get some fresh air.

So for me, it’s Thursday – the only real difference being that I worked today and I usually have Thursdays off. I have a three day weekend instead of working. Little is different. I won’t be staying up to watch anything on TV, maybe a film, I don’t plan on even staying up that long – I’m far too tired.

Enjoy yourself as the numbers roll over if nothing else. I’ll be asleep.

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Christmas Is An Odd Thing.

Our Xmas Tree

Our Xmas Tree

Christmas is an odd thing.

I mean, less so, I suppose if you’re Catholic or a Christian denomination but for me, an at-best-agonostic, who works in retail, with a long history of shitty Christmases, I find it a bit odd.

I worked today – it’s Boxing Day – except it isn’t. Because you can’t have a bank holiday on a Saturday, so we have Monday off. And we were open today. Some of my colleagues have been trying to explain it to customers by saying Saturday isn’t Boxing Day, Monday is, but this just caused a lot of confusion. I just went with the classic “we’re open Boxing Day,” and that seemed to work better.

Before I moved back to Wales, I used to work either Boxing Day or New Years Day. I wasn’t bothered which, I spent most of the holidays drunk back then, sobered up enough for work and then got drunk again. I still struggle a little with the holidays a little because of how bad it used to be, because I can still remember that misery and I still struggle with that misery.

Even though I am happy now. Misery, depression, and happiness can co-exist.

Business Wolf - my present from my wife.

Business Wolf – my present from my wife.

Plus I struggle with my family at Christmas, or a continued lack of it. But I struggle with my family anyway. It can be so hard to get them to do anything, and I’m so different from most of my family (except my mum, which means we’re both a bit anti-social at times presenting a different problem). It seems like it’s a bit of a fight to get to spend any time with them, and sometimes it bugs me and sometimes it doesn’t. It depends really. As the years go by and I am more secure in my mental health, I find myself wanting to reach out to them more and I know my wife struggles with it too, because her family is so far away and spend a lot of time together. My mother lives 2.5 miles up a hill and I swear I can go weeks with seeing her or speaking to her.

I actually go to church at Christmas. Not because I suddenly feel the urge, or because I suddenly find God year after year for a day. I go because my wife goes. She has faith, she believes. And I believe in her. I love her and support her and respect her. Religion and all. I don’t pray, I don’t sing, I don’t received a blessing. I can’t receive communion (I’ve never been christened). I sit and listen and usually ask a lot of questions of my wife when we leave.

This year I cried.

This year I cried, calmed down and cried all over again.

The service wasn’t great, the vicar had a good idea but struggled to come back to his central point. But he did make me cry. He mentioned a quote from Educating Rita that resonated with me:

“When I listen to poetry and music, then I can live. You see, darling, the rest of the time it’s just me. And that’s not enough.”


That was me once. I had poetry and writing, filled my life with books and tv and fanfiction and fandom and music and alcohol. Even drugs at one point. But when I went to bed it was just me, and it wasn’t enough. My friend Kirsty was the same. But I found myself, found a way to be happy and Kirsty didn’t. Kirsty was 19 when she killed herself but even religion wasn’t enough for her. Because she believed and went to church and had God but it still wasn’t enough.

I cried because it reminded me of her, of that, of Kirsty being gone before she was even an adult. I cried because it seemed to unfair, that I am here and she is not. That she believed and I do not and I didn’t think I deserved a blessing on Christmas Eve, regardless of the fact that I don’t believe.

Alan the duck, with the new addiction little Jenny.

Alan the duck, with the new addition little Jenny.

Christmas was good though. I enjoyed it, I had Christmas eve off too, so I could finish up a last minute present for my nephew and then see my sister and the kids to give them their presents. Dinner was amazing, I got some cool stuff, spoke to my dad, saw my mum (briefly – she woke me up). Watched tv, played video games, ate a lot of food – including the most amazing potatoes ever. And don’t ask me for the recipe. I wash, I don’t cook.

Today there is Reece’s cheesecake, though, I ate too much dinner (which was just as delicious the day after) so it may have to wait until tomorrow (and it’s already twenty to eleven).

I like it though, my quiet odd little Christmas. It slowly becomes part of us, part of the family my wife and I are building together – with our cats, our chickens and our hamster.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas.

New Years is an entirely different struggle.

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