COVID Diaries: 26th April – 30th April #Coronavirus #Thoughts #Fears #Anxiety #Writing #Blogging #Family #Life

26th April 2020

Today, I decided to approach Spillwords to see if they would publish one of my poems. I decided upon the dragonfly as it is one of my favourite poems/photos from my poetry, prose and photography collection Mr. Sagittarius. I didn’t realise that Spillwords don’t take images with writing – so I spent a good while making the following graphic on Canva which I’ll have to use elsewhere

Today, I featured Willow with a Coronavirus poem and a James Blunt song. Very nice.

https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/26/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-willow-willers-cov1d19-isolation-writers-poetry/

The Coronavirus series continues to be popular.

Hubby has been building garden chairs and I have been washing windows… Our weather during Lockdown has been really good but apparently according to Gina it is about to deteriorate.

The girls and I did an exercise online class in the afternoon around 2pm but it was too hot and on top of that the area we were exercising in seems to have suddenly become infested with ants. At one point Gina shouted, “I’ve got ants in my hair!”  Which made me feel very itchy. Natasha was also scratching and I was slipping everywhere as there are only two exercise mats – I used an old blanket which wasn’t much use.

So not exactly the best exercise session that we’ve done. It was comical though!

27th April 2020

I featured Sharon Marchisello on my writers in isolation series on my blog today. https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/27/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-sharon-marchisello-coronavirus-covid19-writers-isolation/

I didn’t take part in Lizzie Chantree’s writers sprint this morning, (I normally do,) as it clashed with the timing of Natasha’s PT session with me! And somehow I didn’t feel in the mood today. Monday’s seem to be the same whether you’re working. or not. And today I feel a bit low.

Here’s the link to Lizzie’s Book Group for writers sprints, tips, and lots more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

I did an exercise session with Natasha in the morning. It was a really tough one I thought I was going to pass out. But I completed it.

We went for a walk in the country park in the afternoon. Kept seeing robins everywhere – a good luck omen perhaps?  The ducks were playful too. One came straight at us as if it was showing off and then whizzed across the lake, its mate came to join him but he was having none of that, he zoomed away.

We chatted to my mum on the phone she  seems down at the moment as does Gina. This protracted length of time cooped up together is getting to all of us.

I saw a black crow picking food from a bird table on the way home – they always give me the creeps – so black and menacing looking, before and during Coronavirus I keep seeing them. This is the third one I’ve seen. So strange. I hope it is not a bad omen. It’s a day of conflicting emotions, both good and bad.

I also saw my friend Mary Enna and Godric with their beautiful husky dog out for a walk. It has the most amazing blue eyes. We stopped for a while – them on one side of the road – and us on the other. We talked about bread making, she suggested I make sourdough loaf which doesn’t need yeast. Like the sound of that – may try it this coming weekend.

In the evening we had a family tiff in the kitchen. Kitchens seem to be the prime area for disputes to arise. The kitchen is the undisputed danger zone. Hubby always pokes his nose in the cooking even if he isn’t eating with us. (Sometimes he likes to cook his own food.) This interference in the food prep caused a stroppy atmosphere and then hubby went outside for a time, sat in a chair by the patio and pulled his hood over his face to hide from us all.  Gina saw her opportunity – she took his photo! When he looked up he said “I hope no one took my photo!

Of course not… If you believe that, you believe anything!

I wish I could escape and go to see my parents in Edinburgh… This is beginning to get to me. I am missing them so much. The conversation I had with mum today wasn’t right. She’d talked to my eldest daughter Tasha first, they’d chatted and chatted. No problem. But as soon as I spoke to her everything changed. Her voice sounded disjointed like she wasn’t forming her words properly. Mumbling. I pressed the phone closer to my ear, my shoulders tightening.  “Mum, you sound  strange. Are you okay?!” She spoke up a bit, “I’m lying on the bed and the phone’s a bit far away.” I acknowledge the ridiculousness of my fear, mum’s phone is simply too far away from her as she speaks. Her voice becomes clearer; the mumbling words are gone. “Is that better?” she asks. “Yes, I can hear you now,” I reply. The familiar feeling of panic pressing on my ribcage disappears for a moment. I realise I’ve been holding my breath. I need to take another calming breath to steady myself. And then she admits she’s terrified of catching this horrible illness. I can hear her fear and that frightens me. I imagine her on her bed, clutching the duvet towards her, her eyes welling with tears moistening the fabric. I want to hug her and be there for her. I should be there for her. She says, “I don’t want to end up alone and on one of those bloody ventilators, and neither does your dad.”

Her words are powerful, I can hear them so clearly. What can I say? It breaks my heart that she is saying this to me.

I don’t respond but my inner voice yells: I hate you virus. I feel the unspoken words filling a vast space which tightens in my gut.

We continue to talk about symptoms, as if we can protect ourselves, if we are knowledgeable enough. The latest indicator is shivering, she tells me. I already know this, I am well informed. We’ve both had the shivers recently but who knows whether it’s fear that’s making us shiver? My daughter asks for her phone back, perhaps her minutes are running out, she appears oblivious to my dread of hanging up.  Her youthfulness makes her less astute. At last, Mum and I talk about Skyping at the weekend, an obvious preliminary to saying Goodbye.

 Once I’m home I replay the conversation over in my mind and realise I missed something. We called mum in the afternoon and she never naps during the day. Is she ill? Is she alright? Was she shivering now?

This is COVID19 worry; It is relentless. I doubt I will ever forget how it feels.

It brings guilt too. Why didn’t I Skype her yesterday? It has a voice, this virus it’s accusatory.

There will be more to come in the diaries soon. I’m a bit behind with them.

Hope you are all keeping well and safe.

A new review for Mr. Sagittarius:

Adele Park 5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified Purchase Shaped with poems and beautiful pictures this book is a must-read and keep. This novel is the kind you will go back to again and again to dip into and read your favourites. A fantastic book, the author has delivered with engaging characters and beautiful prose. Well done.

And a fairly new review for The Curse of Time:


Eloise Sousa‘s review Apr 13, 2020
really liked it
YA Dark Fantasy that will keep you riveted

A fascinating twist of events shakes Amelina’s world, awakening her to the power of crystals and her family’s legacy.
An enjoyable read with well-written characters who keep you on your toes as they drive the action forward.

Available for free on kindle unlimited and to buy in kindle and paperback: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

 

Coronavirus #EasterSunday #Fears #Family #Keepsafe #Grandparents #Grandma #Hospital #Anxiety #Worries

Easter weekend started off so well with the promise of sunshine, lovely food, Zumba in the garden and barrel loads of chocolate, and a new book review.

Saturday I received my first Canadian review for my YA fantasy The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone. I was thrilled and posted about it on my Facebook feed.

But, this is what happened around lunchtime Easter Sunday.

My mum hasn’t been too well and in the morning her face swelled up from her right cheek all the way up to her eye. I saw how bad it was whilst skyping with her at 1pm. (My mum and dad live in Edinburgh.) I mentioned I’d google her symptoms and get back to her with some advice.

Well, I did just that but when I tried to call her back her phone was engaged. I rang and rang. I called her on the landline and on her mobile – still no reply. My mum never keeps her mobile on! It turns out she had been calling the 111 number for 45 minutes. That doesn’t bode well if you are gasping for breath and needing urgent care. Eventually, she got through and was advised by the doctor to go to the Royal Infirmary Hospital.

At last I managed to talk to her just as she was about to leave the house in a taxi. My dad was throwing a nervous fit about her going to hospital at this time, so near the peak of COV19. Rightly so. But, as she has glaucoma, not going could mean she might go blind.

He was also upset that he didn’t go with her. My lovely dad even called himself a coward. Poor dad, he’s thirteen years older than my mum. At ninety one, he’s no coward. Far from it, I reassured him that he did the right thing staying at home. Bless him.

So, what next? I called my brother who like me was worried, and a little upset that mum had gone out gardening and been bitten by something… Instead of staying away from unnecessary chores. Normally, mum and dad have a paid gardener to do their garden upkeep, but with the Coronavirus…

On the way to the Royal Infirmary the taxi driver kept mum entertained. He was a very chatty guy, (as is my mum who loves nothing better than a good old natter,) but his speciality is: doom and gloom. Poor mum had to listen to his thoughts on deaths, suicides, and all manner of Coronavirus horrors. Not really what you need whilst on the way to hospital.

When the taxi driver arrived neither he, nor mum could find where she was meant to be going. Her destination for treatment wasn’t A & E, thank goodness. She had to go to another part of the hospital, another building, a fair step, so it’s just as well my dad didn’t go with her. He would definitely have slowed her down.

No one else was there Thank God – No CoV19 patients – which I was worried about. The first thing they asked her to do was to clean her hands with the hospital gel. Good to know. She saw the doctor straight away who checked the swelling on her cheek and prescribed her antibiotics. And she was out of there as fast as her 78 year old legs could take her.

I suspect in a weird kind of way it was a little adventure for her. Being cooped in day after day does strange things to your mental health. And mum loves to chat and go out. Now she’s home, as a precaution she’s washed all her clothes, taken off her shoes and coat and washed her hands.

Hospital is really not the place to be going at the moment. But I understand that she had to go. Sometimes there is no choice.

Phew, now I can relax a bit. Please God. Keep them safe and well.

All seemed calm until…

The evening… when my youngest remarked that she didn’t feel well. This kind of announcement pre-coronavirus would normally be met with a general look of concern and a “What’s wrong?” But nowadays the response is heightened to: sheer panic, searching looks and examining symptoms. It seems that she has a stomach ache – I reckon anxiety has brought this on – about life in general, her study /work worries, and sadness at not seeing her Grandma’s and Grandpa. Grandma’s going to hospital probably triggered this. But, nevertheless I will be keeping an eye on her. Worrying times.

How was your Easter Sunday? I hope it was okay?

There are no certainties in this strange world we are living in. All we can hope for is that we stay safe and well, care for each other, and let kindness prevail.

Stay safe, don’t go out unless you have to. And only go to the hospital if your doctor advises you that you must.

I discovered these posts on Levine Lowdown – about the political, economic, and mental health aspects of Coronavirus by Guest author Sam Zweck and The Positives of Coronavirus. Please do read:

Coronavirus #COV19 #Sunday #Family #Games #Baking #Anxiety #Cats

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Yesterday, Sunday 6th April was a gorgeous sunny day in Cambridge. A day that might have tempted some to congregate. I hope not, but some of the UK public appear to be foolish. Not us, we spent the day at home in the house and garden enjoying the sunshine. Hubby managed to get some charcoal so we had a barbeque, and played card games.

That was unusual – as they were drinking games!

It was my youngest daughter’s idea. For example you pick a card and the number says you have to… say a rhyme, or name a city, or whatever else the game rules say and pass it on. If you run out of rhymes, etc, or are too slow, you have to take a sip of your drink! The drinks were very nice, gin and tonic with fruit!

It was fun, but we didn’t go overboard and drink too much. Just enough to relax us all.

Perhaps Lockdown has some positives – we are definitely spending more time together as a family, chatting more and sharing our thoughts.

But we will have to be careful not to drink and eat too much! Or, I for one will be putting on too much weight.

Also, another source of piling on the pounds – we made banana cake with chocolate chunks. Apparently, everyone is baking banana cake at the moment. It was quite a job getting the ingredients – I had to improvise somewhat. It turned out really well but we overdid it on the chocolate! If I made it again I’d use less chocolate, but youngest daughter doesn’t agree!

During the meal I glanced up at the blue sky and sad thoughts returned. How can the world be suffering in such a terrible way on such a beautiful day? My thoughts turned to those less fortunate than us who are living in cramped living conditions, without a garden, perhaps in difficult situations. I looked again, I couldn’t see a cloud in the sky, and no airplane trails either. The environment is benefiting, but people are dying.

I just wish the Scientists could find a cure but it will be a long time coming before a vaccine is ready. They are saying one year minimum, perhaps longer. It is good to hear that influencers, musicians, pop artists and the like are donating money. I hope this will help.

We packed the barbeque away and settled down for the evening. It was only 6.30pm.

What to do now?

Relax.

Watch TV, read a book, go for your daily safe walk, or chat, or spend time with our visiting cat who has decided to call during lockdown. Except, this cute ginger cat just wanted to snooze!

Another day of Lockdown. Hope you are all doing okay and staying safe.

Links:

Workshops for young girls during this time:

From J K Rowling: https://www.wizardingworld.com/collections/harry-potter-at-home

David Hockney shares exclusive art from Normandy: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52109901

A message from Chris Martin #TogetherAtHome from Coldplay:

A beautiful song “We’ll Rise Up: a song from the NHS to the public”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/apr/05/boris-johnson-admitted-to-hospital-with-coronavirus

From my friend Sherri: https://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2020/04/03/dispatches-from-lockdown-in-an-english-spring/

Available for free on kindle unlimited and to buy in kindle and paperback: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. Photography is in the genes! Both my uncle and grandfather were photographers. My grandfather A.G. Ingram was originally with the photography company Ingram, Gordon & Co in Haddington up until the mid thirties.  Then he ventured on his own to form the Scottish Pictorial Press in Edinburgh supplying photos to the press.  When war broke out Scottish Pictorial Press became defunct.  After the war he started AG Ingram Ltd, Commercial Photographers, at 3 successive locations in Edinburgh, Scotland.

And 5 star review from Colleen Chesebro: February 2020 Books #AmReading

Early reviews: 5 stars from Ritu Bhathal https://butismileanyway.com/2020/02/29/february-2020-books-amreading/

Another 5 star review from Sally Cronin: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/03/04/smorgasbord-book-reviews-poetry-and-prose-mr-sagittarius-by-m-j-mallon/

The Heart of Red Jade – Light and Darkness #Crystals #Writing #Inspiration #Self-harm #Anxiety

 

Red Jade is one of many intriguing crystals in my debut novel. Of course, the crystals in my novel are extraordinary gems, magical crystals conjured up by my imagination! They represent the light, or potential happiness of the protagonists within, whereas shadows represent darkness, deception and sadness.  The Curse of Time is a novel of light and dark, so be prepared for both if you decide to pick up a copy. I do not shy away from difficult topics as reviewers on Goodreads have highlighted in their comments:

‘The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.’ Book Review – Author Richard Dee.

 

‘There is a multi-layered mystery to be unravelled, spiced with supernatural hints and mixed with some very current issues such as family dysfunction and self-harming.’ Book Review – Blogger Samantha Murdoch.

Here is a short excerpt highlighting the light in the form of the red jade crystal.

‘There are so many delightful ones. How do I decide which one to choose?’ I turned in a circle trying to take in the dazzling gems as they spun before me.

‘Many of the stones have healing properties, but you must follow your instinct and find one you know is right for you. The defenders of the Cottage will guide you.’

Again, I wanted to ask about the defenders of the cottage but left the words unsaid, and they remained stuck in my throat. A jumble of incoherent sentences tumbled around in my thoughts.

Unsure of how to proceed, I followed Leanne’s advice, running my fingers up and down the crystal wall, caressing the gems. I felt a warmth generating from the crystals as my hand brushed over them. I stifled a giggle when they tickled my fingertips. Eventually, a crystal responded to my touch by easing itself from the wall to find a new home in my palm.

Mesmerised by the experience, I realised that above all else, the feeling of the stone on the wall had guided me to choose it. I sensed that the gem belonged; it spoke silent words of encouragement as if it claimed me. I relished the feeling of power that emanated from the crystal as it radiated a warming light that caressed my skin, hugging me like a dear old friend.

‘Wonderful choice my dear. The Red Jade is a lucky crystal. It is the most passionate and stimulating of the Jade stones. It will urge you to go beyond your comfort zone, to be courageous.’ Leanne beamed a bright smile and stared deep into my eyes as if she would find an answer to some unanswered question there. With an abundance of confidence in her voice, she continued. ‘There are those amongst us, corrupt souls who will try to follow you into the cottage. So, you must take care. The cottage will rise up to greet you but you must not encourage others to enter, or terrible things might befall them, so beware.’ With those words of warning ringing in my ears, Leanne turned back to tending her birds, dismissing me without a final goodbye.

I knew this was my cue to depart, so I moved toward the door. Placing a foot outside, I felt the beginnings of an earth tremor beneath my feet. I jumped as far as I could, dreading that I might fall to my death in the crack that appeared. There was no way I could have leapt so far and yet somehow, I had. The magic that bound me to the cottage lifted me high in the air and ensured my safety. In a blink of my eye, the cottage drew back, claimed by the depths far below. Nothing remained of the old ramshackle building apart from a few loose pebbles scattered on the ground where the cottage had stood only moments before.

© M J Mallon

To read about the properties of the Red Jade crystal do pop over to the Sisters of The Fey blog: https://sistersofthefey.com/2019/04/14/crystals-the-heart-of-red-jade-light-darkness-writing-crystals-properties/

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. If you would like to find out more please leave a comment or follow the following links:

A magical blog of books, writing and inspiration

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’

“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson

A review from Beth at Bibliobeth. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – non fiction account – a funny book about horrible things – authors anxiety/depression.

bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been…

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Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge No. 22

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Guidelines from Charli’s community:

February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads.
Respond by February 27, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
***

Here is my entry for the prompt, (which I love – Unicorns!)  I knew instantly what to write… I had the idea engraved in these words from my Media Kit bio:

If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

I don’t know if the Chinese Unicorn exists, or if it sings, but it’s nice to dream and to imagine! Also, I doubt if the Chinese Unicorn looks like this but it’s fun to play with Canva!

The Chinese Unicorn

 

 

The Chinese Unicorn Sings

I swear my workday wielded ferocious tentacles and claws, stressful, busy, so many demanding blood-sucking visitors. I stole a stranger’s smile and stapled it on my face. I tried to laugh but instead I swallowed down my tears. My anxiety had cranked up a helter-skelter notch. On my journey home, I discovered a brochure with an unusual invitation:
Visit The Chinese Unicorn Whose Magnificent Voice Sings Like A Thousand Wind Chimes.
I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t bother to say goodbye. When I heard the unicorn’s blissful melody, I wept. It wasn’t an interlude; it heralded the end of anxiety.


 

Sometimes tears can be happy ones!

 

To join in the challenge follow the link:

https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/22/february-22-flash-fiction-challenge/

Hope you enjoyed my flash fiction!

 

Bye for now,

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My Social Media:
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Facebook – Authors/Bloggers Support Group #ABRSC: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

 

Guest Post: BetterHelp #MentalHealth

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.

 

Journaling 101

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:

  • Concerns
  • Ideas
  • Feelings
  • Thoughts
  • Interactions with other people
  • Disappointments
  • Accomplishments
  • Pictures
  • Drawings
  • Whatever you want

 

Online Therapy

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.

 

Guest Post – Cat Davis – Four Quotes to Help You And Me Understand Bi-Polar

 

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

Continue reading Guest Post – Cat Davis – Four Quotes to Help You And Me Understand Bi-Polar

My interview with Shadow – A Black Cat Character with A Past

 

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Cat model Lily via Samantha – https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com

Welcome to Kyrosmagica, Shadow – the black cat who features in my book – The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone.  I’m so glad you agreed to this interview opportunity today to help me promote my book which I hope to release this summer. You are such a handsome fellow and quite the gent I hear. Today, we’re going to discuss all manner of things and we will also have a #mentalhealthawarenessweek discussion about anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

Tell me about yourself…

Purrrrr.… Thanks for being so welcoming Marje not everyone is so kind to cats. Luckily, I have a lovely owner Amelina who cares for me. I discovered her one day when I was playing in her garden; I peered in the window and I knew she was a special person so I stayed. I’m persuasive that way, one purr, and a stroke of my sleek black fur and humans can’t resist me!

When you say not everyone is so kind to cats does that mean you have had a rough life?

Oh, to answer this question I have to think back in time. The strangest thing happened to me one day. I felt this abundant change in my spirit. One minute I was chasing birds, playing with the mice in a field and then kapow, it hit me. I felt this overwhelming feeling of change. I felt different, overcome with these overwhelming feelings of goodness. But, the goodness felt alien, like it belonged to an earwig or something! The weird thing is in rare moments I feel like I’m someone else entirely and that someone else isn’t nice at all. One day, I experienced this intense moment of evil flooding my poor furry body, it only lasted a second but it shook me up real bad. I’m still trying to recover, my fur is all matted and ruffled.  Shadow shivers…

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Oh, my goodness that sounds horrible!Perhaps we better change the subject. Could you tell me why you’re called Shadow?

That is a very perceptive question. Shadow twitches his whiskers while considering it. I think it’s because I arrived in the Scott’s house when something good happened that revealed something bad. I represent yin, (shady side,) and yang, (the sunny side,) light and dark, but I am more yang – of sunny disposition – than ying. My tiny moments of ying disturb me…

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That’s deep…

Yes, life can be full of perplexities and this story is a fine example of that. I prefer the simple things in life… exploring, enjoying the sunshine, lying on the grass, hanging out in my garden, chilling, eating, playing, cuddling, purring, and looking adorable!

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What is it like living in the Scott’s household?

Challengingggggg! They are such a strange family. The dad is half dead; the mum is stroppy and Amelina has this sister called Esme whose not a sister but behaves like one. Esme always seems to be up and down in her emotions. Her ying and yang are out of control.  She is one confused girl and behaves like a prisoner to her own reflection. I listen to them nattering on… They all have a tragic story and mum, dad and Esme inadvertently tell me their individual stories. More about that in the book…. no spoilers! I know all of their secrets. I’m a snoop! Oh, and I nearly forgot to say Amelina has an aunt Karissa who owns a dog… UGH… a critter called Toby – most unfortunate. The bloody thing comes to stay, breaks things, eats all the time and causes havoc. The aunt drinks, tea, and alcohol too, and eats a lot, mainly chocolate unless she’s dieting. She’s always losing her glasses. Toby and her are quite a pairing!

My goodness sounds like you have to put up with a lot. Getting back to the stories – they sound shocking. Did one confession shock you more than the rest?

The dad’s and Esme’s are the worst. The dad because something has happened to him that is out of his control, (and seems to have impacted upon the whole family,) and I relate to that (after my weird overload of goodness episode,) and Esme because she self harms or did.

Self harm… that and other mental illnesses like anxiety, and depression, are a rising problem in our young people. What’s your opinion about it?

Kids nowadays have a lot of problems and it’s not their fault. I sympathise, I really do. The word pressure sums it up. Pressure to succeed, pressure to look good, (on Instagram, and other social media,) pressure to be thin, pressure to be popular, pressure to have the best-looking boyfriend/girlfriend, pressure to have money, pressure to get to the best Universities… the list just goes on and on.

There’s bullying too, and it isn’t just face to face like it used to be now its via social media too. It’s like there’s no escaping meanness, and rudeness. It’s so immediate, one little tweet, or nasty message via an Instagram shot can go to masses of your ‘friends’ in a mere second. So it’s not surprising that our young people often have mental health issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression and self-harm. In the worst case scenario some resort to suicide and that makes me so sad. No one should ever feel that way, there is always help out there. Talk to your mum, dad, a close friend you can trust, a sibling, a counsellor, an aunt, anyone who loves you. Just don’t bottle it up that’s the worst thing you can do.

I’d recommend this excellent site if you are experiencing mental health issues: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/

All youngsters should  own cats, Meowwww, cats are good for you. We have superpowers. Truly, we lower your heart rate, boost your immunity, help you relax – we release a calming chemical called oxytocin into your body, and that helps induce love and trust and make you smile. We increase your sociability, yes having  cats makes you more sociable, and stops you feeling lonely. Purrrrr. We have a stack load of medical health benefits too: we reduce the risk of heart disease, and heart attacks. We lower your triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Hey, we even reduce your chances of having a stroke. See we cats are superheros! Oh, and top of all that we reduce the carbon footprint, not like doggies like Toby who eat a ton. We eat small morsels, fish, and catch our own prey.

Shadow picks up his paw and licks it.

If you don’t believe me it’s all here: http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-owning-cat/

Is there anyone in Amelina’s life who has an eating disorder?

Yes, there’s this girl called Emily, who struggles with her desire to be thin, and to be loved. I don’t have that problem – I know that Amelina loves me. Also, I take a lot of exercise to keep fit and trim.  But, I have a huge heart so I cry real cat tears when I think about poor Emily and others like her.

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Does Amelina have a lot of friends?

No, not loads, she’s smart that way, she knows it’s not the number of friends but the quality of friends. Though, not all of them are to my liking… Except me, of course… (I’m her best friend.) She has three close human friends: Jade, Joselyn, and Ilaria. Jade is Amelina’s best human friend. She is arguably the prettiest but the most spoilt. She has this huge house, owns horses, and gets everything she wants. Joselyn is the worrier, (this girl needs a cat!) and Ilaria is the joker, but I sense the jokes hide something deeper. My favourite is Ilaria because I like a laugh. The four of them play in a band and write their own music. It’s pretty cool.

What about guys, does she have a regular boyfriend?

There is nothing regular about Amelina! She stumbled upon this guy called Ryder down a scary river pathway. I tried to follow her, but she shooed me away. The guy’s dangerous I don’t know why I know but I do. He has too much ying in his soul. I don’t trust him. He dresses all in black and has one green eye and one black. But sometimes that green eye looks red to me, like it is bleeding. Creepyyyyyyy. But, Amelina thinks he saved her, from what I can’t imagine, some prank probably.

Is there anyone else you’ve met through Amelina that has left a lasting impression on you?

Oh, yes, Kyle. Love him, he is Ryder’s best friend. He’s so snuggly and nice, I love to sit on his lap and purrrrr. Ohhh….

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If you could sum your owner Amelina in words what would you say?

She’s poetic, artistic, musical, kind-hearted, magical and brave but makes mistakes. She is a flawed human, poor thing! Miaowwww. 

Thank you so much Shadow for coming on to my blog today and telling us all about my forthcoming new book, The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone. I really appreciate it. 

It is my pleasure my dear. Any time…  Oh, before I go can I be cheeky and ask one question?

Yes of course you can Shadow.

It’s about Lily who models for me, can you set me up with a date? She looks real cute!

Of course I can Shadow, will do! I chuckle… imagine a date between yourself, (Shadow,) a fictional cat and a non-fictional cat, (Lily,) it could only happen in a writer’s life. Next time, (as long as Lily is willing,) we’ll have the date on Kyrosmagica… and she can tell us all about herself!

Shadow purrs a rich note of contentment in reply. 

All above photos of Lily (our black cat model,) courtesy of my lovely blogging friend Samantha Murdoch – photography credit her son Alex Marlowe.

Please visit Samantha’s blog to see her lovely cats and stunning crystals: https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com.

Samantha has recently started an Instagram account so please do click the link to see her lovely cats, (they are all supermodels,) and her crystals : Samantha’s IG account

She also twitters on here: Sam Crystal Cats – Twitter

 

Bye for now,

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#SoCS: Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Break/Brake

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Today I’m joining in a new link up for me – Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. In her words: ‘Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “brake/break.” Use one, use them both, but whatever you do, enjoy!’ Here’s the link to join in: Linda Hill

Ritu from But I Smile Anyway and I were having a blogging chat about our kids exam nerves so that got me thinking that I’d like to write a post and a poem about that…The prompt words sounded pretty relevant to how I’m feeling at the moment. My youngest is going through her GCSE’s and this is such a trying time for her (and me!) as she suffers from exam anxiety. This dates back to her doing her SAT’s. She works so hard, and often I have to tell her to have a break! Well the upshot of this is she is well and truly exhausted and been pretty ill this morning at 6 am. So she needs to press on the brake a bit, slow down, focus less on the exam emotions regarding the exam she has just sat, and concentrate on getting ready and rested for the next one.

So with her in mind and all students taking exams at the moment here is a little GOOD LUCK poem with a crazy touch of humour to cheer you all up:

 

The Poor Invigilator Needs A Defibrilator

 

Factor in a break, a well-earned rest,

Press that brake pedal,

Breathe….. It helps to..

Fill your lungs as you count,

Whatever you do don’t vomit it out!

 

Can you imagine the mess you’d make?

The half-filled exam paper covered in puke,

Poor invigilator’s face turning stony,

Pulse weak, he’s having a bald-headed fit,

‘At least no one’s died,’ whispers some bright git.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t rip the exam paper to shreds,

Heads turning as you run out for meds.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t turn as white as a sheet,

Tip over your chair, and fall at the invigi’s feet.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Don’t pick that juicy zit,

Splattering blood all over your exam script.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Whatever you do don’t run out the door.

The poor invigilator might need a defibrillator.

 

Press that brake pedal,

Take a big breath in,

And let it all out,

Pray for the invigilator!! It’s time to believe,

Breathe, Break, Brake, Blast that paper….ACHIEVE!

 

Show those teachers at school,

Your mum and your dad,

That pesky invigilator,

Your kitty, your dog, the stuffed bear,

Those wonky exam tables and chairs.

 

Show ‘em a thing or two…

Shuffle those D’s to C’s, C’s to B’s,

B’s to A’s A’s to A* s, shuffle them all.

The good and the bad and the ugly too!

Breathe, break, brake… you can do it! ATISHOO!!

 

© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

 

GOOD LUCK in your exams.

Do feel free to comment in the link below. Do you suffer with exam anxiety? If you do are there any things you find helpful to cope? I’d love to hear your tips..

 

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

 

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