Illness and Cats: Death-watching and Me

I caught the half-term lurgy (via the medium of the awesome Lego Batman Movie) and have, as expected, been struck down hard by child-germs. As a happy child-free adult, I have zero immunisation to kid-spread illness and this sends me to my sofa and D and Ceri into full-on death watch mode.

At least I know Ceri won’t eat me. D, on the other hand, keeps randomly licking me to see if I’m ‘done’ yet. I’ve tried explaining I’m diseased meat but he’s looking at me like a wounded deer lying in the snow, waiting to die. He keeps waking me up by bopping me on the nose, just to see if I’m still breathing. It doesn’t help that all I’ve done is lie on a sofa watching whatever’s on YouTube.

My concentration is down to like 5% and I’ve exhausted myself just by going into the city for a good, freshly cooked meal. Tonkotsu ramen is the ultimate healing food as it combines hot pork broth, noodles and tasty meat, all of which I need to get back to my normal level of health. Throw in gyoza and yakitori and I’m in heaven/ Added to that, I’m not usually sick but when I get a bug it slams down on me. Hard. I knew this was coming, my throat started getting scratchy as we left the cinema and I spent that night doing the full on fever stewing. Nights are the worst when you’re sick.

Nights are the worst when you’re sick.

All I can do is drink fluids, sweat it out and just wait for this pesky thing to get out of my system.

The other problem with getting sick is my mood; it’s been a bad week and it doesn’t take too much to set off my mood swings. Friday was horrendous as I spent the entire day being triggered by a horrendous pair of events (including being stalked by someone else’s stalker and metaphorically stabbed in the gut) and it’s still affecting me several days on. Fortunately, I have a spine now which is making things easier and when I’m sick I get grumpy which means I’m not afraid to stand up, tell people to fuck off and slam doors in faces.

But, on the upside, I think I’m finally passed this. Tomorrow is a new day and the start of a new week. That’s got to be good, right?

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The Days of Quiet and Reflection

The weather is oddly mild for December, indeed I currently have the windows open and the heating off while my dryer does its thing. The sun is bright and it feels about as far from winter as we can get.

I’m having a glorious couple of days; yesterday I watched Doctor Who all day and today I’m beginning the annual Game of Thrones rewatch. It’s a time of peace, quiet and reflection. Oh and coffee, alcohol and going through my packed fridge full of food. It feels weird without a dog in the house though, especially as I missed my Christmas Day walk with Uni. D came with me as far as the main road and then whined from the safety of the B and B’s garden while I went into the garage to get myself a coffee.

And by ‘whined’ I mean yowled so loudly the people filling up their cars could hear him and were probably wondering what was being disembowelled.

Christmas Eve involved Norwich and it was nice, drinking coffees, catching up with other GDOs and having far too many mochas. Norwich was actually quiet, though all the restaurants were packed. It was nice having the morning to just read stuff on the internet and run into old friends I’ve not seen in ages (and who have also defected to Nero’s). D is once again trying to get on Paul’s good side (which is easy) by purring and using him as a human shield so Gismo doesn’t eat him. Gissy won’t but D doesn’t know that so, you know, there.

I ordered myself a second Sonos:1 as two will cover my entire flat. The sound is gorgeous, the apps are a little more annoying but there are work arounds and this is for another post. Even Paul wants one now he’s seen how powerful this little speaker is. I just like the depth of the sound and the ability to play the same song in multiple rooms so it feels like I’m floating in music.

Plus it’s made me love listening to the radio again.

I don’t feel much like writing and I’m trying to listen to that. I had one story I wanted to finish for an anthology call but it’s just not going to happen. The angle is wrong and four days isn’t enough time right now.

I don’t like it but it’s okay. I’m supposed to be taking some time off, right?

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My Plan for 2017: Be Like D

No seriously. Look at him, this is the most chilled out, ‘I don’t give a fuck’ cat on the planet. He’s the world’s best feline role model, even if he’s bitey.

For my health, I need to chill out. I’ve spent 2016 taking on too much, pushing myself too far. It’s not that bad; I got off with a micro, stress-induced manic phase and one hard-core suicidal one, coupled with time of the month crashing (thanks, body). That’s light considering the Five Manic Episodes of 2015.

But it doesn’t mean I can do that shit again.

2017 is going to be about self-care, about being a little selfish. I need to get my triggers and IBS under control, as well as focusing on snowballing my way out of debt. Plus 2016 was a shit year (bar like two things) and needs to burn and the earth salted. I don’t know if next year is going to be better but I need to take it out.

Writing-wise, my aim is to quietly potter on whatever calls my attention. I will still try and submit short stories (I have enough for a collection at this point and sending them out is easy enough that I can do it in my sleep thanks to the Grinder). I’m also aiming to get some work done on longer projects before doing a full rebrand once I have the money in 2018, republishing all my books under the Asha Bardon byline.

But as for publishing and, especially, editing. No. I haven’t got the energy to go through the process, much less the crowdfunding side of things. I’ve got to learn that saying I’ll do something doesn’t bind me into actually doing it and things will get in the way which will always call issues.

I need space to breathe, space to write without expectation. That’s what 2017 is about.

On a personal front, I’m coping pretty well. I’m adulting, though I hate it, and surviving without bipolar medication. The trick is staying calm, monitoring my moods and using the 30-day waiting period before purchases, big or small. It’s still a fine line and I don’t know when the next obsession or manic phase will strike. That scares me.

I’m still worried about Class and New Dog but it’s on the backburner. I don’t need to worry about that right this second. New Dog will come when she’s ready and I’m very used to waiting. For now, all I can do is enjoy the end of year peace, the chance to reflect. Gods know I have a heap of things to look forward to in the coming months.

It’s hard, though. My brain is stuck in ‘what awful thing is next’ mode. It’s a bit like flight mode except it’s more about anxiety than instinct. I have an amazing therapist whose helping and I’m finding that if I can avoid things which trigger me then I’m much more able to cope. I spent the rest of my time reading up on living with various conditions, coping with narcissistic people (avoidance/NC works for me).

Some things are unavoidable but Habitica gives me bonus points for those.

I’m lucky in that I have people around me who are amazing, a core group who are my chosen family. Ironically, it’s taken the last year for me to realise who that actually involves. Some of my oldest friends are no longer friends because their worldviews differed so much with mine, and my needs, that it turned nasty. I don’t need people who spew poison or try to control me in my life, especially not when I’m trying to dig myself out of a hole I’ve created.

The important people, they’ve been at my side all the long and I can’t thank them enough for it.

So yeah, the next twelve months are about me. I’m actually looking forward to it as my main focus has been ‘I need to be x in case y or z calls’. The trick is shifting my focus to ‘I’m going to x because I want to, meeting up with an alphabet of people is a bonus’. I need to teach myself that it’s okay if I want dinner or see a movie, I don’t need other people unless we make a date. I need to live my life for me, not for anyone else, even though all the people in my life are awesome enough to get that I’m stupidly altruistic and don’t abuse that.

At the same time I like my routine, it keeps me from descending into slobbery and I’m proud of that. I don’t want to be the stereotypical ‘on benefits’ person who sleeps into midday and, besides, productivity is my friend. Early mornings mean peace and quiet and I value that a lot, just as I do the odd quiet day at home with a queue of movies lined up.

So wish me luck as we finally see the back of 2016 and begin a new, fresh, year. I’m looking forward to it already.

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Dog Versus Bengal

2016-04-02 12.33.54

I pride myself on having three cats and a guide dog, an unlikely collective who get on with each other. Until this week anyway. Dion is being a little shit, he’s neutered but there are so many undone females wandering around and he is Mighty (aka he fights with the other local felines). He’s been bitey for the last few months, over-stimulated.

On Monday he attacked Uni.

I don’t mean this in a playful way. I mean he did something to Uni that has scared the living shit out of her, to the extent that she won’t come into the house or climb the stairs if she thinks he’s in the house. Ceri is confused because she and Uni have always been so chummy. She sleeps on Uni’s bed and meets us at the edge of the estate; she has no idea why Uni is now giving her a wide berth.

I caught D trying his second go at Uni on Monday. She was back-pedalling, he had one paw out in a very offensive manner then she went to the front door and begged to be let out, refusing to come in (mid-Storm Katie). Since then she’s been much happier out and refuses to go anywhere D, he’s calmed down but it leaves me in a very horrible place. I spent yesterday (thanks period-emotions) crying on the phone to my instructor, convinced this was the final nail in the coffin while Mhairi and Bramble tried to console me.

There’s a reason Mhairi is my BFF.

Lovely Instructor reminded me that if I retire Uni (something which has been on my mind of late due to her preference for fuss over work) I’m probably going to be dogless for the rest of the year. I don’t want to retire my hound but her age—she’s 7 next week—has been on my mind. Mhairi is helping; she takes no shit from anyone’s guide dog and Uni respects her enough to do as she’s told. I can’t, due to my Asperger’s, always get the tone right and am so easily stressed out that minor things become major.

My natural cycles, albeit suppressed by the implant in my arm, mean I periodically crash, hard. I’m sure this is connected to my bipolar, the emotions I’d usually have cranked up to 11. I’ve always been much more emotional and I tend to want to scream at people or cry. Yesterday I wanted to do both and, of course, you only ever notice AFTER the fact. This point makes me practically homicidal, especially as I’m normally a lot more submissive, even though people seem to want to shout at me for misdemeanours rather than be useful and help.

This picture shows how close Ceri and Uni will get, though when in harness she happily allowed Ceri to greet us when we came home yesterday in that ‘can’t you see I’m working’ manner my beloved dog has. I’m trying to help where I can by shifting Uni/Dion so Uni can see I’m here to protect her. All I can do at this point is reassure her and hope she’ll calm down, eventually twigging that neither Ceri not Isis, at least, are a threat.

But it doesn’t make me feel any better. I know the end is coming, if not right now then eventually and that scares me. I never imagined a day when I’d have to give Uni up and I’ll be damned if it’s because of one of my more idiotic cats being an arsehole.

No, just no.

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