Category Archives: Personal life

We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy

Not everyone I know happens to know that I suffer from a mental illness, it is something I try to be open about but it is increasingly hard has mental health is not a concept a lot of people have good grasp on. As much as I would love to educate everyone on the consequences of being mentally ill, it is tiring and it is often not met with a lot of understanding.

The approach to mental health issues is often turning overbackward, because people can accept you being ill in any part of your body but not the one part that is the most important to you: your brain. My brain is sick, it is sick constantly and it will not ever return to normal. And my brain is not sick by a tumor or a blood cloth, it is sick by a disease that is invisible to everyone else, a disease that no one can see apart for when I’m at my worst. And even then all they can see is that I look very tired.

I like to see my illness as a battle between good and evil. My illness is not a choice, but how I decide to act on it is a choice, and often the evil wins because that is the easy choice and I’m not hero. Most of the time the people I know the best are the ones who have to suffer from my illness the most. This make me keep most people at an arm’s length, because I know most can’t hold on in the long run, because one day I will be at my worst again. Bipolar is not rocket science, rocket science has definitive answers bipolar doesn’t. I can check my emotional math over and over, but I will still have bad days.

When I have a bad day and I have used all my energy not showing it and I finally get home, my sister is the one I snap at for not closing the door in time for the cats not to slip outside. And the truth is, I am sorry every-time that happens and I regret it, but sometimes I cannot help it. I like to think I am better now too, maybe because I’m older, maybe I finally found the right medical combination, but I like to think I manage my illness better now than before.

The true heroes in my life are those who are there, time after time, accepting my irrational mood swings again and again. The people who understand that even though I am on medication I will have good and bad days. The heroes in my life are remarkably few, but I am thankful they are there and put up with me.

Because people in my life has been very fleeting in my life, I have always used books as a sort of escape from the prison I find my mind in. Whether it is reading or writing, it is something that helps me get through the darkest of places. In many ways books has become more like friends who are always there to welcome me back, mostly because they are inanimate objects that can not go anywhere.

One book series in particular that has helped me get through though times are the magical world created by J.K. Rowling. It is a book series I cherish, which is taken out in the darkest of times just to find my way back to a place that is magical. I own numerous copies these books in several editions; hardcover, softcover, pocket books, English edition, Norwegian edition.

Recently I have been through another cross-country move to Belfast, after my years in London and San Francisco it is good to settle down in a smaller town with a slower pace. In these times with a new move, a new job and few well-known faces, I once again is pulled to the magic of Harry Potter in the darkest deep of my depression hoping that once again it will lift my spirit.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”

– Albus Dumbledore

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Writing with depression and battling writer’s block

When you are a writer and you struggle with depression, writer’s block isn’t just writer’s block anymore. Writer’s block is something that can be easily swayed when you put your will to it; but when your writer’s block comes from depression it is significantly harder.
I have experienced this first hand. In the past I’ve had writer’s block, and I’ve dealt with it. The best way to battle a block is to just sit down and write. The last few years I have struggled with clinical depression, to a degree where I have been on medication. As I write, I do realize that this post should have been written in May, during mental health awareness month, but mental illness is here for all the other months too. For us all to help remove the stigma, we need to be talking about it, not only in May.

The problem with a Writer’s block when you are depressed, is that the will to something about it is far away. For me, writing has been a sort of therapy. My writing is where I write out my anger, my hatred. It is where I can be anything I am unable to be in my real life. Two years ago, I just stopped writing, and writing has been a constant struggle since, and my depression has turned worse. It is a downward spiral; I can’t write because I’m depressed, I’m depressed because I don’t write.
Because of my illness I was unable to finish my Creative Writing Degree, I had to defer my third year and will be doing it over this year. And I do claim to have all the answers to fix it (I’m still not writing the writing I need), because there is no magical cure and it might not get easier.
To battle the writer’s block, the first step is to realize what’s the problem. In my case depression is the reason or my writer’s block, and eventually the writer’s block became a contributing cause for my depression. It was already too late for me to turn things around when I realized this, a whole semester had passed and it was three months until my dissertation was due.
When you realize what the problem is, you can take steps to fix it. In the past my writing had always been linked to my reading. If I read a lot, I would write a lot. At my writing peak I wrote 5000 words a day and I read almost 100 books that year. It is my belief that all writers need to read. To quote one of my favorite Lannister: “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

I think what I am trying to say here is that it is important to see things in context. As writers we create context in all our little pieces of work, but while we are doing this we forget to take a look at our own, very real, life. So my advice would be: read wide,  read often, and read to expand your mind. Also, remember it is no shame in putting down a book that just doesn’t rub your back.

Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry

Frankly I don’t really know any literally characters I would like to marry. It would have been cliché but I could have said Mr. Darcy, but then again he is not really the main character of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

A character which really fascinate me is Dorian Gray, he is the title character of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Grey” which also happen to be one of my favorite books. The unbecoming of Dorian Gray is very fascinating, to see how he transforms from that innocent prefect creature, which Basil adores into, into a corrupted creature of Lord Henry’s making.
Of course, Dorian is not really marriage material.

Day 12: Book that is most like your life

I did not really find an answer to this one as I do not believe that any book is like my life. It  book was, it would mean my life was in any way interesting. In an effort to find an answer I took several tests online that claimed to find me the book that would describe my life.
One would think I picked my favorite answer of these, but instead I went with the one test that gave me a book I have actually read: What Classic Novel Describes Your Life?

So the novel that is most like my life is Bram Stoker’s Dracula the result of the test:

Pensive and brooding with a penchant for solitary confinement, your fantastic story unfolded within the pages of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, DRACULA. Others mistake you for ‘unhappy’ on a regular basis, but simply do not understand that you are different – and that is completely okay. You tend to shun everything else around you as you immerse yourself with whatever captivates your mind – which leads to sacrifices but ultimately ends in incredible results. Your inner workings are as fascinating as your outer layers, a true rarity.

The Business of Freelancing, Blogging, and Books, According to Author Jennifer Armstrong

I came across this interview of Jennifer Armstrong, about Freelancing, blogging and Books. It is very much worth a read.

The WordPress.com Blog

First, I should note: I am not related to Jennifer Armstrong. But! I have followed her writing closely over the years — first during her years at Entertainment Weekly, and more recently as the author of books like Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (Simon & Schuster), which offered a definitive history of the classic TV series. Her blog also happens to be a must-follow on WordPress.com: She gives glimpses into her current work (she’s doing a Seinfeld book next) and she’s refreshingly transparent about the business (and hard truths) of being a freelance writer in 2015. I spoke with her via email about the business of writing and tips for how she makes time for her own blog.

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Starting over

A few weeks ago I decided to hide most of the posts I’ve written on this blog since I started. It had been some years, and the recent years I have not been blogging very frequently or written much substantial.

When I hid all the post, I did this to start over. I wanted a blank blog but without making a new one. Because I have tried that, I have started several blogs only to watch me wither and them die. So I am trying again here, without making any promises to what the content will be or how often I will post.

If I had an interesting life I would blog about it. Sadly, I’m as mundane as everyone else. I will not put up posts about how I do laundry or how often I burn incense. Maybe I could put up a post about how messy my room is, how fat being a student makes me or how poorly I clean my room these days, just to get the gritty reality out in the bloggiverse.

Though I think it might be time for me to update the world on my whereabouts, if only to make myself have a realization about reality. Writing often make me think.
Currently I am still a student at Kingston University. I have changed my BA from a joint degree in Creative Writing and history to a Major in Creative Writing. In my newest history module I have found a new interest in human rights and war crimes (I study genocide and crimes against humanity).  I have lost my will to write, I don’t want to write anything anymore, but I struggle to finish my degree so I can apply for a MA in Publishing or a MA in human rights. For the time being I work at McDonald’s, and I find it rather enjoyable.
Also I have worked at a student ambassador, I’m a student rep, and I work on a bee documentary by KUSU. Who’s blog you can find here.

So for the hard parts, what have I been doing the last couple of years? I have lived in San Francisco for a year, it was a blast and very sad at the same time. I met great people, and I met not so great people. Life happened, I got out of my bubble for a while. But the higher you fly the harder the fall, the anniversary for my suicide attempt is  coming up and I  consider to take that date as my birthday, because I see surviving that kind of darkness as a much bigger accomplishment than being born.

I did not realize it back then, how depressed I was or how long I’ve been depressed. It was like a new start too, and I denied how much it affected me. It was not until the summer that the post-suicide exhaustion hit me and I wasn’t able to do anything. I still struggle to get up in the morning, even with antidepressants doing anything is always hard.
But I’m managing. I manage to get out for work, and that is a start. I manage to meet up for lectures and some seminars, that a step. And I figure that this is one of the things I will blog about from now on: living with depression. Ideally I would also like to write book reviews and maybe some articles, but right now that feels like a lot of work.

And I will stumble and fall

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere I would’ve followed you 
Say something, I’m giving up on you

Say something, I’m giving up on you
Say something

4 big reasons you look fat in photographs.

The Haute Girl

4 Big Reasons You look FAT in Photographs

Update: You know how you read buzz feed or something like that and there is this really shocking title, but when you go to read it its nothing about what you thought it was going to be? and it ticks you off? Well this article is not like that, but the title is like that for a reason. It’s what brought you to read this today. I had some unsavory comments about people not liking that I used the word fat, or upset that I would use this word in a negative context. Just to be honest – a man responded to this article saying ” or start working out and don’t be fat ” Ouch. I don’t think anyone wants to be called that, and nor have I been ever called fat as a compliment ( maybe P-H-A-T 😉 ) In any event, this article is about looking your most…

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Leaving things for last minute

I work well under pressure. But I do my best work when I have a full-ranged panic attack. At least that is how it seems to me. Whenever I have put large amount of work into something, worked on it for days or even weeks I seems to get less positive feedback. When I do something last-minute or when I improvise my presentations I do better than when I have spent a lot of time preparing it.

I think that is why I have developed this bad habit of always doing things last-minute. Like today I wrote my whole take home test in 4 hours (thank you Norway for routinely have five-hour exams I guess…), and I am quite confident I did far better on that, and I feel like that writing was far better than my half attempt to start last week.

The thing is in four hours I wrote 2500 words (four short essay) and did a read through and I feel like I did okay. Whenever I put a large amount of work into anything I get anxious and stressed out, feeling like I could have done better and keep obsessing over small details that probably wouldn’t matter anyway.

So on a general basis I feel like it is easier for me to just leave things to the last-minute. Today I did cut it a bit closer to the finish line than I would have preferred, I would have liked to got started yesterday but for various reasons I postponed it. Maybe I postponed it because I thought it was easy, critiquing fiction has always come easy to me and I write naturally in essay form.

Hopefully I did not do too bad on it, we will probably get it back graded in a few weeks. And hopefully I did okay or good. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Midterms and stuff (sh*t)

It is time the time of the semester when the universities that run a quarter-system gives out their midterms. I will not even start on how impractical (but efficient) a quarter system is other than that it is really, really stress full (you fall behind you stay behind no chance of catching up).

Honestly I don’t understand the midterms. They are sorta like exams in the middle of the semester and all of the ones I’ve had have been mostly consisting multiple choice questions. Up until today I thought I went to Uni today to face three midterms in one day, turned out one of them is not until Thursday and the other is a take home exam.  That shortened my work load for the day, but I still got my “big history test.” I try not to worry too much but I do.

Of course what is not making anything better is that I hardly managed to sleep at all last night, because one of my professors are particularly unpleasant and aggressive (when unprovoked). And I forgot the part of using profanity towards the student while being aggressive as well. Last week was particularly bad, and all the students were sent home because the professor did not feel well. This kind of behavior of course does nothing for my social anxiety, especially when the class is a “you have to participate or you are marked as absent”-policy. A few weeks ago when I was addressed the professor did interrupt me concluding I had not read whatever short-story  before I managed to say more than a few words and make my point. At the time I just kept talking and I figure the professor realized the mistake, but honestly that kind of behavior does lay good ground for the students to want to participate. Some of my fellow students did indeed react to this situation, though not openly in class but it was more a hushed down after class “I can’t believe that the professor said that.”

So I guess the two past weeks have contributed to my anxiety  to such a level that I dead to go to class and puts it off as long as I can without being marked as absent (yes I’m often late for that particular class). Though I should probably try to talk to the professor and ask why I am experiencing an excessive amount of this negative feedback, though I do want to avoid the person as much as possible (I have headed for a keep your head down and don’t do anything wrong or stupid strategy). I’m definitely more of a flight person than a fight person, I can work through this.
The past three weeks I have also suffered from nightly terrors, which I believe is connected to this. I wake up too early in the morning, I fall asleep too late, and I’m generally tired. When I finally manage to sleep I have terrible nightmares about completely ordinary and  trivial things. Like I keep having this dream over and over, where I travel back home but I have forgotten something and I’m trapped so I can’t go back and get it. Also I dream I’m on the airplane and I have forgotten something in the airport. Once I had a dream where I forgot all my luggage before I traveled home, and also have these dreams where a very ordinary days runs in an annoying loop over and over until I can’t stand it anymore and wake up. Then I do have some disturbing dreams, like the other day I dreamt I ate both my thumbs. Also I dreamt I that I got expelled for whatever reason.

I figures I just have a lot to deal with right now, I’m in a transition period where nothing is under control. In a few months I’m going home, a few months later I’m moving back to London but I have not even started to sort accommodation and I still really need to send those unpleasant e-mails. This week, will do it this week (that’s what i keep telling myself).

At least I got my homework under control, my special assignment will be on the hunger games (which i have read several times), the grammar class is running OK, and I think I can deal with my history class (though that’s a story I will not write about here).  So I’m not by any means driving myself completely off charts here, but vacation will be good, getting back in a mean, mean exercise regime will be good, back to dieting will probably be even better, seeing my cat again will be best (to shortly sum up the few things I look forward to about going home).