A lovely article about how yoga benefits your mental health via Mihran Kalaydjian
Welcome To Kyrosmagica! So lovely to see you Esme.
MJ: Tell us about your life Esme.
Esme: I’ve had two lives, and both are hard to understand. In my past life I appeared to be free but never experienced freedom. I felt trapped in my body and my mind didn’t feel that it fitted, like a puzzle piece trying to correspond to the wrong shape. My mind rebelled; I self-harmed. Now that I am a prisoner in the mirrors of Amelina’s house, I can’t self-harm. I can’t do anything. I’m a victim of a curse but I’m not the only victim.
MJ: Why did you self-harm?
Esme: Everyone expected me to be perfect. I couldn’t cope. The pressure kept building up and up. It was my way of dealing. My personal punch bag.
MJ: That makes me so sad. I wish I could help you.
Esme: I know you do. You feel my pain and wrote about it in your novel.
MJ: I tried to do it justice; I hope in some small way I succeeded.
Esme: You did. But can we talk about something else? This is making me anxious.
MJ: Of course, is it okay to talk about the curse? Or is that off-limits?
Esme: No, that’s okay.
MJ: Who else was a victim?
Esme: Amelina’s dad.
MJ: What about the rest of the family?
Esme: They’re trapped too but they’re not prisoners. Hey, wait a minute. They are prisoners in a way… sometimes you don’t have to be a prisoner to feel like one.
MJ: It must be a really sad story…
Esme: Yes it is, but it’s also much more. There’s light and laughter, darkness and shadows. Many magical threads tangle this story together, like many loves, and yet there are no real lovers.
MJ: It’s no romance then?
Esme: Read the beginning and you might think it’s a romance but read the end and you’ll know it’s not.
MJ: It sounds puzzling…
Esme: Yeah, it’s meant to be. Each chapter starts with a numbered puzzle piece instead of a chapter heading. Then there’s an awesome Tanka poem teaser.
This is my favourite from Puzzle Piece 12:
Think you know someone,
No, you don’t know anyone,
We’re all cheerleaders,
Carrying our false pompoms,
The mirror captures our truth.
MJ: A teaser… interesting… Are you a poetry fan?
Esme: Hey! All artistic and tortured souls love poetry.
MJ: I love poetry!
Esme: Oh! Ha Ha… That means you’re a deep thinker.
MJ: I am. Talking about deep thinking… If you had a twin, what would you say to her?
Esme: I have a twin, inside me. It’s like there are two people in my brain. One’s happy, one’s sad, a yin and yang twin…
MJ: I wish I could make you whole and happy. Perhaps I might write your freedom…
Esme: Could you? Pleeease. But make sure that you write my freedom beyond the prison of my mind. Don’t send me to the land where shadows live.
MJ: Sigh. I wish I could promise that, but I haven’t finished book two yet and I have no idea what will happen in book three!
Esme: You authors have a wicked sense of power…
MJ: Yes, it is true dear Esme. You are without a doubt the most challenging character in my book and that is why I love you so…
Esme: Ahhhhh, thank you!
I hope you will love Esme as much as I do. She might make you sad but there is a young person like her out there somewhere. Self-harm is a growing problem in our young people. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. Speak out about mental health issues, fight to take away the stigma. Help someone you know who is suffering, it’s the little things that mean so much.
Please feel free to comment and share.
The illustrations of the Creature and Esme will appear in black and white in the paperback book due to be launched April 2018.
Images copyright – talented artist Carolina Russo: https://yesterdayafter.com
Previous interviews on Kyrosmagica:
Bye for now,
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
My Facebook Authors/Bloggers Support Group: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club
— Olivia Remes (@OliviaRoxann) 11 May 2017
We had Olivia Remes visit our work today for #MentalHealthAwarenessDay. Olivia is a PhD candidate at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health. She gave a talk about mental health focussing on anxiety, depression and compulsive obsessive disorder. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to record today’s talk so instead I thought I’d share the above link I found on twitter.
Also this article is very interesting: Naked Scientists – Is Social Media Affecting Mental Health. I do believe there is a lot of truth in this, we need to switch off our phones at bedtime – the constant sound of them beeping in the night cannot be good for us! I always leave mine well out of earshot! But, the younger generation are particularly prone to doing this. SWITCH OFF YOUR MOBILES AT BEDTIME!!!!
You can read Olivia’s other articles here: https://www.cam.ac.uk/people/olivia-remes
What do you think? Is the overuse of social media damaging our mental health? Are we in danger of becoming depressed by all the hyped up positivity we see on Facebook?
Please comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What is This Feeling of Emptiness I am Feeling?
Sometimes it just feels like something is missing. Or like everything is missing and you just have no idea why you are here and what you should be doing. Everyone feels things differently so whatever you are feeling, it is important. Your body or mind may be trying to tell you something. Maybe there is something physical going on that is causing you to feel this way. Or it could be that you are depressed or anxious about something. This commonly happens to people after the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. It may just be that you are bored and need a new hobby or something.
What Is Wrong with Me?
You may be able to figure this out on your own just by thinking about what is going on in your life. Another way to determine why you have these feelings is to start a journal. Sometimes, the only way to figure it out is to talk to someone. A friend or family member may be able to help you figure out what is going on with you. However, many of us would rather not burden our loved ones with these kinds of things. Often, our friends and family members are biased and just tell us what they think we want to hear. Therefore, it is sometimes better to talk to a stranger than to talk to a loved one.
Writing in a journal has been around for hundreds of years. People have been writing their feelings down for centuries so you know there must be a good reason. It is helpful to get your feelings down on paper, not just to express your emotions but to look back at your emotions over a period of time. For example, this feeling of emptiness may be able to be figured out by looking at what has been triggering the feeling in the past. When you find the triggers, you should be able to figure out how to avoid them. You can write down your:
- Interactions with other people
- Whatever you want
Talking to a therapist or psychologist online is an excellent way to figure out what is making you feel empty. There are different options for online therapy such as Skype, Facetime, chatting, or instant messenger. Either way, you are able to record these conversations and play them back at a later time to see what may be going on with you. Of course, the therapists are experienced in these situations and many are licensed to treat your specific issues. They can help you determine what you can do to make this empty feeling go away. Many of these websites offer their availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can write down your thoughts and feelings as soon as you feel them. So, what are you waiting for? Take a chance and you can feel better today.
Hello Marje’s fans! My name is Cat, and I am a 20 year old diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. Writing is one of my main coping mechanisms for accepting my diagnosis, so I am thrilled to share a part of me with you today.
Bipolar sounds like a terrifying, debilitating, life-changing disorder…and it definitely is. At times. When I was locked in my 2nd hospital, after getting out of my 1st one only 41 days earlier, I thought I had gone absolutely insane. And in a way, I had. I was misdiagnosed with depression and misprescribed an antidepressant that ended up making matters worse. Hospital-worthy worse.
But my 5th psychiatrist listened to me and changed my meds, and my 12th therapist listened to me and believed what I said, and I stabilized in six months. And here I am!
I write when I’m depressed. I write when I’m manic. Okay…I mostly write when I’m manic. And I write when I’m stable. When I sit down and open my laptop, I have no idea what to expect from my brain. I have no idea which me will come out. But today I have a theme in mind, thanks to Marje’s suggestion, and that theme is using quotes to explain what bipolar is and what it means to me. I hope you enjoy!
Four Quotes to Help You (and Me) Understand Bipolar Disorder:
“I have traveled through madness to find me.” –Danny Alexander
I started experiencing my first symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was 14 years old. Before long, I self-diagnosed myself as depressed. When I wasn’t depressed, I thought I was back to normal.
I didn’t know that when I felt normal, I was actually feeling manic.
It started with hypomania, which is a less intense form of mania. A patient who only experiences hypomania is by definition a patient who is never hospitalized for mania. Patients without full-blown manic episodes are diagnosed with Bipolar 2.
My hypomania didn’t detract from my life. Sometimes I was impulsive, but that was written off as a teenage rebellious phase. Sometimes I talked really fast and bounced off the walls with energy, but I was just labeled an extrovert, maybe with a little bit of ADHD thrown in. My experience mimics many other patients who do not get diagnosed properly, if they get diagnosed at all. Hypomania often looks like normal.
I don’t know if it was growing up or going off to boarding school or college or what else, but the full-on mania came. I was hospitalized. Twice. This was partly due to my misdiagnosis of unipolar depression and subsequent treatment with antidepressants. Antidepressants like Prozac close the mechanisms in the brain that essentially “suck up” serotonin, leaving more happy neurotransmitters for the depressed person. But more serotonin in a person with bipolar can induce a manic episode. And it did.
So when I was correctly diagnosed, I felt a wave of relief wash over me, softly pulling me into the comfort of the sand bar and telling me that the storm was over. My psychiatrist, the first person other than myself, did not only acknowledge my madness, but he accepted it. And he helped me. I figured out who I am; I understood why I felt the things I felt and did the things I did for the first time.
“It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.” –David Jones
Excellent guest post from author Cat Davis sharing her experiences with bipolar via Sue Vincent’s blog. A must read, for anyone struggling with a diagnosis, or wanting to discover more about this mental health condition.