Category Archives: Journey

Mental health: Losing Time

I have lost a lot of time, both in the distant and more recent past.

I lost 3 years of my early 20s, as I got sick towards the end of my 19th year. I lost most of the year I turned 30, because I was in full time sickleave and I couldn’t speak or think properly for 6 months.

Since the first time, I’ve been occasionally better, I even worked for a while (a year, part time) and spent 4 years studying.

But I’ve also lost days, weeks and months at the time because my mind just shuts down. It’s a protective measure to keep me as healthy as possible, but it’s also exhausting. It’s exhausting because any time I think I have an ounce of energy I try to do those things I want to do, and my mind responds with shutting down.

It may seem like I’m here and active and social, but I also zone out and never really know what day or date it is. This is hazardous when trying to take medication to keep you balanced, trying to get your life back into order, or studying.

It affects my studying a lot as a week will have passed since we received our assignment to do in two weeks, which means that I will have to try and do it in half the time, which usually doesn’t work because my mind will shut down again if I try to push it.

Trying to work is a joke right now, that’s why I’m not trying, because I’d probably get really sick really fast. Yet there are projects which are close to my heart, and I like to get them going. Help them off the ground. But I can’t without it killing me, and I don’t want to feel like I’m dying again.

Yet here I am, feeling like I can’t go much further, and that the shut downs are getting worse. Now, everything up until this sentence was written a night when I was having a particularly bad PMS trip, and I’m not actually feeling like the shutdowns are getting a lot worse, they’re just not getting better.

I wanted to share with you all, so you can understand why it may seem like I disappear a lot, why I’m forgetful or don’t seem to have energy to plan anything. It’s also why I seem like I am a lot more talk than action. Losing time is one of the reason some actions don’t come to fruition for me, why some actions will take months or years.

This is why some projects can go very slow, because time kind of just fades away. However, this spring my goal is to be able to get a better grasp of the things I want to do, and make progress on them.

Thank you for reading.

Old Journals (for University)

Some courses have you keep journals, to examine your own thoughts and progress with the course. I think a lot more classes could benefit from doing things like that.

Today I found a 5 year old journal, from one of the first courses I took at University, which was Drama & Speech (but part of English Studies). What I want to do here today is share it in it’s entirety with you, as it was already digitized. Enjoy:

2013-09-03
First lesson. The goal of the lesson was how speech can improve with practice, but also daring to speak out loud. The first time you read a text it can be a bit uneasy, as you keep repeating it you get familiar with the text and get to know it. When you speak in front of a group or around people it’s very easy to get a bit quiet, especially at the end of the sentence.
We also got to try to open up our voices, with energetic exercises. It was interesting, even if the class as a whole still scares the shit out of me. Drama and public speaking has never been my strong suit, even if I still do the latter.
My weakness is definitely my own creative openness, I can be creative in my own time and alone but when around people with a set assignment and the premise of “Do this out loud right now” I really cramp up, and I just had to use my frustrations instead of a passion. I do however feel satisfied that I found an emotion to use. Something inside of me so I could take the first steps in this class to improve, and get through the class.
In a whole I feel the lesson helped me, even if just the slightest, to feel that I can speak in front of the group, my classmates without too much fear. For me this becomes a good first stepping stone to improving my future public speaking (I’ve held lectures and speeches in the past).
It could be very easy to attempt to avoid certain exercises because I would tell myself that I don’t need them. The lesson really helped me enhance the feeling that I will continue going in head first to these lessons to keep improving my speech capabilities.

2013-09-09
Today’s lesson was focused on breathing and trying to make sound come out of us. Focusing your breath, feeling where the sound came from and where it ended up. Which muscles do we use, and what difference does it make for how sound come out.
We received a vocal warm up exercise sheet which we should aim to do a few times a week.
In class today I almost started crying, I had to face fears about my voice that I never got help with confronting when I was younger. I used to be in various choirs, and on occasion they would tell us that we need to feel it in the stomach, I never did and no one ever helped me with it. The exercises and information we went through today definitely helped me face that fear, and was much more rewarding than any song teacher or choir I’ve ever been in. It strengthens me that I got to face this fear today, and it encourages me to keep working towards becoming a better public speaker.
I definitely still find a weakness in my own fears, but I see myself working through them each and every lesson we have.
My own ultimate goal is still to just generally become a better speaker, be able to talk so people can hear me, and hopefully listen. These lessons are definitely one step in the right direction, and it reminded me about a lot of other exercises that are generally good for body knowledge. Partly I need to work on more exercises like the warm ups, and feel “it” in my stomach, and partly I need to work to fight my own fears.

2013-09-16
Todays class had two big focuses. After having had a lecture, which covered a lot of breathing / vocal warm up as well as the rhetoric aspect of speech and to some extent drama, we continued with a few extra breathing exercises. The “elevator” breathing exercise had a huge focus on relaxing. For me most of these exercises come with a lot of tension, and fears. Most of it is irrational, I know that, and I have yet to figure out where all of it stems from, but each time I fight it I am getting a bit closer towards the answers that I need to develop further. The elevator made me relax my face (especially) so much that it caused both aches and nausea. This is due to that I’m always so tense so when I finally relax it makes me sick. In turn that makes it harder for me to actually engage in these types of exercises. I know that for the future these breathing exercises, even if I won’t use all of them, will come in handy. Similar to what I’m experiencing with all the years of different types of therapy, there’s lessons from all of it that I draw upon once in a while. The most important thing for me right now however is to get a lot more comfortable with it.
Before the breathing exercise we were shown a few exercises we can use to make it easier for us to memorize and work with our lines for the Dramatic reading. By using physical movement and activities together with reading the lines we’ll easier bind the lines of text into our head, rather than just walking back and forth, or worse sitting down in the sofa.
I do know that I will need all the help I can get with memorizing my lines, but right now I feel very confident that I will manage to remember them.

2013-09-23
Today we worked on emphasis as a means to learn a text. In this case we chose words referring to one or more people, or in some cases an important object to the story to emphasise. Using the technique we learned to dissect a text and figure out what we were actually saying. Who is this “they” referring to? The women we just talked about or the men? Were the living people referring to women as well, as was the remains after the men’s actions.
When speaking a part, or any text you need to know what you’re saying, not only learning the words.

2013-09-30
Speaking loudly and clearly, to be overheard while others next to you are also speaking. Grouped together with one other person having the to keep eye contact in order to make it easier to hear.
Articulation. Good deep breath.
We walked around in the room, all of us reading lines at the same time attempting to out speak the others, by being clear and articulate.
I learned that I’ve got a good base to build on, but I can definitely improve my articulation. I will do a worse job while I’m tired, exhausted or stressed. I’ll be out of breath before it starts under those circumstances.

2013-10-07
Rehearsal 1
This was the only rehearsal I made it to. It was a chance for us to perform the whole thing in front of someone, and be accountable for it. No messing around. This made all the difference. When it’s only the group working together a lot of giggling and silliness will occur, often more than once per run through of the play.
The weeks leading up to this I’ve been under a lot of stress, and I realized that the more stressed out I am the harder it is for me to remember my lines. Lines that had previously been fully in my head were now slowly falling away from memory. Luckily I could make the best out of having the play in my hands.

2013-10-21
The Performance
We finally reached the day of the performance. Even if I had yet to learn all the lines, due to a lot of stress, I figured out how to improve that area for the future. I ended up mostly rehearsing the lines during the sessions we had with the group, rather than reading them through over and over trying to repeat them without the paper at home, which was something I should have done to make them stick. I did do that in the beginning with Scene 10, and it stuck since then, those were the parts I knew the best. Even if it can sound obvious, it is something I learned and that I will have to keep reminding myself about.
Through the course I’ve learned that picking a piece of text apart, if you have the time, is a good tool. Figuring out what each piece is referring to, what it means and who it’s directed to. In this case you also got some space to play around with it, use the “Who Am I Speaking To” as a part of your performance.
I learned that getting outside of your comfort zone with a bit of drama can help you a lot in the future. Now I am less afraid, even if I will shake like a leaf, to take on and get up on a stage to talk in front of people or read something highly personal (like we ended up doing in the Personal Life Writing lecture later the same week as the performance).
When you pick apart a text there’s nuances you’ll find that might be missed otherwise. A piece of the text which is referring to the same object over and over, will get more meaning if you look over what it is trying to say. When it has more meaning to you it will be easier for you to express that meaning while reading it aloud. Much similar to the one line about “the point” read by S- B in my group.
Take the time to breath, I knew this since before and with the performance I got the time to re use it. If you plan your text properly you can of course use breathing and artistic pauses to help you get through your nervousness, or in my case you will just have to make due with what you got and add them in as you go and make it work.

As a whole this class has given me increased confidence in myself, and the fact that I can make myself heard if I need to thanks to some of the exercises. I know now how to prepare and plan for any presentation to make it more successful than in the past.
Thank you -.

Ages of Change

Dear friends who are 30 and over, what have you enjoyed about your current age? (30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc.)

For me my late 20s and early 30s were revolutionary. Simply because I lost the ability to speak, think, write and a lot of memories. My mind shut down and I had some catching up to do, with rest. I had to reboot so to speak.

I lost a lot of memories, mostly about arguments which were pointless. I gained perspective about what’s important to me. And because I’m not fully well yet, I’m still looking at life quite differently. I can’t put exact words to it, I will try though.

Losing memories meant that I wasn’t holding a lot of grudges anymore, and that liberated me entirely. I got a chance to restart with people who wanted to (mostly if they came to me, because I wouldn’t really remember). I could sometimes remember the events, but not the people involved. Which was… Strange, but I got through it.

I found solace in not holding grudges though, and I still forget a lot of stuff, which means if we have a fallout I’m likely to forget. The details at least, which also can be detrimental. I get that. But for my own mental health, it works. It helps me let go and move on. I get that’s not always possible for everyone…

I’ve also learnt that we have to take on our struggles and battles differently. Just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. Yes, I do preach forgiveness a lot. Because it’s right for me, and liberating. I try to preach less though, since I know it’s not right for everyone, as I already said. Processing hurt, and struggles is going to be different for everyone, which is also something I’ve come to understand.

I’m only 3 years into my 30s, and even if it’s been a struggle it’s also been a hell of a ride, which I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Have you learnt something about yourself?

Did your life change somehow?


If you enjoyed this little article of musings, and would like me to be able to write them more, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $1 can go a long way! 
alternatively, check out my support page for more info.


Featured image: Change, by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 

A journey in writing and editing

This particular journey started about 9 years ago, when I began using the internet for activism, and eventually got my first Netbook.

Thinking about it it’s possible that it began even earlier when I was in my teens, hanging out on IRC and eventually learning to write scripts for mIRC. I began programming.

That interest stayed with me, while the interest to write had already been with me since I started to learn how to write. I kept a diary when I was 8 years old, and eventually I began writing more and more in it, always caring a diary with me in later grades in school.

Different communities provided diary functions, what I didn’t realize at the time was that this was basically blogging, and I did it a lot. Even when I had a physical notebook to write in by hand, I would also keep a public, to friends or everyone on the platform, diaries.

The first one was plain text, which eventually got some formatting options, and if you understood how to use them you were some kind of wizard. But I wanted to learn, play around and find my own esthetic.

But, the journey I’m more interesting in is from html text editors and CLI, and shunning WYSIWYG, to be now actually preferring to work with editors which help me along the way.

Basically it’s a mental health thing, an allocation of resources. Finding that I’m now incapable of running Linux which tbh even the best of visuals still rely heavily on the command line, and opting for windows “because it just works”.

Yes, I’ve run my own wp server. I’ve had two Ubuntu servers to play around with. One for media and one for internet stuff (the WordPress, as well as irc related stuff). And yes I’ve run Ubuntu on my Netbook. I’ve fixed broken windows installs with help of Linux, and used to write really noob guides for Linux when I got started with it because there wasn’t any that were on a low enough level to teach me the lingo etc.

I used to prefer plain text, and just focus on writing first and formatting later. I’d be able to crank out an idea without looking at it until later, sometimes already formatting in code format because of the editor.

Today I have been trying out the new Gutenberg editor with WordPress, and I’m finding it very rewarding to use, for me in the place I’m at right now. What I mean is, because of various brain fog and other difficulties it helps me to be able to just view the visual and find the correct button.

So I went from this to only running Windows or Osx (because we have two MacBooks in the household), not launching my own servers or self hosting in other ways. And writing in editors which help me along.

My journey had taught me that wysiwyg editors etc. serve a purpose, and help those who need it. Currently for me, with CFS/me it’s just too much mental overhead to set up my own server, learn a new platform to work with, instead of just picking something I already know.

On that note though I’m currently trying to baby step when I want to try new things, and there’s progress being made, but we can talk about that another day. Being able to choose what I do where, gives me a lot more space to learn new things, and energy to write more blog posts. I feel like we’re on to something here.


This post had been updated from its first draft to add in a few more paragraphs.

If you enjoyed this little article of musings, and would like me to be able to write them more, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there!