Tag Archives: mental health

The Last Bead Has Been Cut From The Thread

beads on string

And lo, it is over. Operation: Third Year Placement is finished. Huzzah.

It was a physical and emotional relief to walk out into the clear sky and warm 5pm sunshine on Friday, with a big card and lovely gift and (best of all) my final report complete and signed off.

The title and picture in this post are reference to the string of beads I kept hanging from my bookshelf for second half of the placement. I would come home each day and cut one off, hold it in my hand for a bit and then place it on the shelf. It served as both a physical acknowledgement and a chance to reflect briefly on the day, and then a way to try and disconnect and unwind at night. My dear friend J shared the idea with me as something she had used during her midwifery placements. It sounds a little bit melodramatic out of context but it really worked well for me as a self-care tool.

Developing stronger self care- and more specifically self awareness as to what I need to do to keep well- is the main achievement I will carry from this placement. It wasn’t the case load or the practice of counselling techniques or the endless filling out of forms (So. Many. Forms!) that was particularly challenging over this period, although I learnt a lot of beneficial things in these  areas. The challenge was negotiating with myself, or selves- the authentic me and the Negative Voice- to get myself to work each day, to focus, learn, engage, eat enough, push past self doubt and just try. Getting through nights where I endlessly played back conversations or comments from people and tore myself to shreds over what I should have done, could have done, didn’t do perfectly.

Perfectionism was a huge barrier to try and overcome, especially in the first half. Constantly berating myself because I didn’t know everything, couldn’t answer every question instantly, got things wrong. It was a big jump from university learning, where I have more or less mastered the academic/ research/ writing skills and therefore reliably do very well on assessments. I took about five months (out of seven) to be able to distinguish between criticism and feedback, and to let myself be a student- be definition, one who is learning and is not expected to know everything! Indeed, will never know everything, and if gets to a point where I think I do, it’s time for some serious reflection.

It was a longer than average placement because I took breaks. Two and a bit weeks in Nepal, a week with the not-so-fondly-named Death Flu, three weeks when I mentally and physically crashed to the the point of being admitted to hospital, two weeks compulsory leave when the centre closed at the Christmas/ New Year period. This was the hardest but most insightful lesson of placement- if I don’t care for myself, I simply CANNOT care for others. I am not present, genuine or helpful when in a state of acute hunger/ nutritional deficiency/ sleep deprivation,  which inflates depression and then eventually turns into intense, all-consuming suicidality. I can physically show up (sometimes), but I won’t be engaged, tuned in or of much use for anything really.

This tendency to crash has happened before during intense work and study periods. In the past (and my automatic response still is to do this), it was ‘Suck it up, push on, keep going, put your mask on, you weak piece of shit, you don’t deserve compassion, you deserve to die’. Which has the predictable outcome of more self-destruction, more days absent, more suicide attempts, dropping out of courses, disconnecting from the world. I think (hope) it finally clicked this time. I was suicidal most of the placement- still am, the majority of the time- but I got through it because I accepted support when I couldn’t support myself. Which was incredibly scary, made me feel very vulnerable and flooded with guilt/ shame/ disgust. But to my complete amazement, no-one ran away in horror. The Wise Woman was absolutely steady, totally non-judgemental and took over when I needed it. My friends were incredibly caring, and gave me lots practical and emotional support. My family did a better job than they ever have before. I took time off to look after myself and the world didn’t end, in fact it became noticeably calmer and brighter upron my return.

Lessons: I have learnt some.

Listen to people- really listen.

Ask questions with genuine curiosity.

Allow people to tell their stories as many times and in as many ways as they need to.

Be aware of how your own stories affect you, and how they play out in your life and practice.

Offer support and options, while sitting with the knowledge that people will make their own choices.

Encourage reflection, including your own.

Look for strengths in people, situations and the broader community.

Accept that butchers paper, whiteboard markers and photocpiers are going to be an intergral part of your ‘social work journey’.

Also try to accept that here will never be enough resources, time or money.

Be creative with what you have.

Know the systems well so you can can work effectively within them.

Advocate and educate for individual and social change.

Try and promote social justice.

Know your limits.

Know also that you have entered a profession where you will do a fuckload of paperwork.

Keep an eye on your dreams.

Reflect some more.

Try and appreciate the processes as much, or even more than, the outcomes.

Take a break occasionally.

Study and attend to professional and personal development as much as you can. (There will often be free food- bonus!)

Be open to new ideas, and make changes in your practice when you need to.

Seek guidance and support from colleagues, teachers, mentors and any other wise folks.

Sleep is good.

Don’t check work emails at home.




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Plodding On

orange man


I had a relatively good day, food wise, yesterday- breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, binge, no vomiting. Ate in public, lots of fluids, listened to the hunger and stopped when I was full. The binge on salty foods was more habit than hunger, and I noticed this, and I stopped.Today was lost to sleeping and  involved an apple, an attempt at dinner and a large (but not a binge) quantity of out-of-a-box  brownies.

It’s so hard to appreciate the things I did well, and block out the, ‘it wasn’t perfect so you failed’ mentality.  Eating disorders love black and white thinking. The Negative Voice loves screaming at me about all the things I do wrong. It’s far harder to tune into the sensible part of me that knows about trying, about creating new pathways and who allows for mistakes and grey areas. It’s OK. Keep going. 

We had a training session on mental health (as it relates to our particular client group) at placement this evening. It was really freaking triggering. I wasn’t prepared for how much it made me feel like screaming and getting out of the room. It was presented by a psychiatrist and was very much a ‘medical model’ presentation. That surprised me because the organisation in general is quite holistic but the tone of this session was very much about diagnostic labels and medication. It made me think a lot about my role as a social worker, trying to create space for other ways of working  and nurturing, and to advocate for a more well-rounded view of mental health/ mental wellness. So it was interesting in that sense, but in the end I walked away so annoyed, and dismayed, that a whole room of volunteer caseworkers who may not have had any other knowledge on supporting the emotional wellbeing of clients  have now been given information through such a narrow lens, and that it was presented as ‘expert knowledge’ and therefore unable to be challenged. There’s so much wonderful consumer led/ informed work being done and yet none of that was incorporated. Was it ignorance, or an intentional position of ‘professionals know best’? Either way it was disappointing,

I’ve got three weeks left of placement and it feels good to have that end date in sight. Most of my theoretical work is done and ready to be submitted, and then I can have a break before uni starts up again in March. My final year- finally! This time next year I’ll be qualified and most likely in a full time social work position. Just gotta keep on keeping on.



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Pick A Colour, Any Colour…

The head noise- the constant, loud, always critical Negative Voice that runs through my mind- was incredibly loud today. I didn’t want to leave the house because it involves scary shit like getting dressed (side issues- being naked, looking in the mirror, having to choose clothes) and being in public (more side issues: taking up space, being looked at, potentially being attacked because of my body size) and doing all these things against a booming inner monologue of YOU SUCK, YOU’RE UGLY, YOU’RE FAT, YOU SMELL is really hard. Too hard, I decided, I’m going to hide in my room all day.

But my friend T called and asked if I could come and hang out in a cafe with her while she studied. We’d had this very conversation the day before- she’s currently finding it hard to focus on her study alone at home, I’ve been finding it hard to leave the house and be in public, so we pledged to help each other out sometime this week. As loud as the Negative Voice is, the part of me that believes in honouring promises and being a good friend won out and I agreed. Also, I suspect T was also trying to help me by metaphorically dragging me out into the world. But that didn’t stop the screaming voice in my head from being just as loud.

Over the past week or so, because of how low my mood is and to keep a eye on my safety, my Wise Woman has been giving me extra support via a daily text message check in (yay, a therapeutic use for i-gadgets!). I feel incredibly ashamed and intrusive for needing extra care but that’s a separate post. The point is, the texting has been really important in keeping me going and today’s was particularly helpful. I was freaking out about being in public and she gave me techniques to use to try and keep me tuned in my body senses and out of the grip of the Neg Voice. Feel the ground under your feet, feel the wind on your face, notice what can you see and hear and smell, pick a colour I’d say red or yellow and see how often you can see it around you.

I’m no stranger to sensory grounding ideas and I’ve tried to use some of them before. But THE COLOUR THING! It’s new to me and it actually works! Focusing in on noting the yellow around me- road signs, a hat, construction worker’s vest, the ticket scanner on the tram, shop signs- got me from home to the cafe (and then through the rest of the day) without me a) thinking about body shit 100% of the time or b) getting run over. I’m serious about being run over, because I’m usually so disconnected from my body that I have daily near misses with cars/ trams/ bikes/ alarmed pedestrians. It also forced me to acknowledge that even on grey days- and it was a pretty miserable winter day in Melbourne today- there is colour and brightness to be found if you look for it.

Once I engaged with my friends, my mood shifted up a bit, as it usually does if I can just make myself get out and do it. I got to do some things I really enjoyed toady- talking to people, having good conversations about life/ the universe/ everything, walking, drinking copious amounts of tea, participating in a circus class- that wouldn’t have happened if I’d given in and hidden at home. And every time I started getting dragged back into my head, I focused on colours. It didn’t necessarily eradicate the noise, but it turned it down enough for me to cope.

That’s how I got through today, which is what my life (and this blog) is primarily about right now. Getting through each day, surviving the nights, dealing with the head noise, trying to get up the courage to do it again tomorrow. Anything that makes that even a tiny bit easier is helpful. So pick a colour, any colour…

Sincere thanks to the Wise Woman, T., L., and the many other people in my life (that includes YOU if you read and comment on this blog!) who are helping me live through this. You’re all awesome and I hope you know it.  


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TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide talk. Yup, I know, there’s been a lot lately. I’m going through a hard time, but I’m not going to kill myself and I really hope you won’t either. Get help now and don’t read on if you think it may be harmful for you.


I’m not particularly keen on life right now (*cough* understatement of the century *cough*). There’s been the usual Negative Voice noise but it has been turned up by a few notches. Last Saturday I was put in danger by a guy who’d obviously missed the ‘consent is sexy’ lesson and was trying to get me to do things that I wasn’t interested in. I was scared, it triggered lots of memories and it gave me a shock that I’m still reeling from. Then on Wednesday a particularly insecure girl thought it wise to tell me to die because she didn’t approve of my body. So things have been harder than usual. I have to do lots of work each day convincing myself that life is awesome and worth sticking around for.

I need to keep living because…

Circus is fun

On Monday I really, really didn’t want to have to deal with getting a train out west in peak hour. I didn’t want to expose my body in public or in class. I was shit scared about waiting in the dark getting home. But the tiny part of me that is fighting 100% to keep on keeping on whispered, you will feel better if you go. And she’s right. Throwing myself into crash mats is a great release from my head. Trusting that somebody else can hold me with their feet is a great fuck you to the Neg Voice. And so I will force myself out of bed tomorrow, and I will go to class again, one foot in front of the other until I’m there, having fun, and I don’t even realise until it’s over.

The internet is helpful if I allow it to be

For years I have used sites like Tumblr to reinforce what Neg is saying- that I’m too big, taking up too much space, worthless, unlovable, and on and on and on. There’s good stuff on the web, sometimes it can be harder to find but it is there. I spent a sleepless night downloading inspirational pictures and quotes to my phone so I can scroll through them whenever I need to. Highly recommended as a distraction from suicidal thoughts, and to light (or re-light) the spark of hope in humanity that is in you, in all of us, somewhere.

Example A:

Example B:

Beds are comfy and warm and safe

When I got into shit last Saturday and was shaking and freaking out and having flashbacks, I was able to find safety in my bed. My warm, familiar bed with soft sheets and scruffy velveteen toys and the hottest hot water bottle my body could tolerate. This is my space. In my home, that I have created and made safe from the demons of the past. I choose who comes in to my room and my bed and if it just needs to be mine alone for a while, that’s OK. Props also to SACL, who were able to bring me back into my body, and the present, and calm me done enough to breathe deeply again. Help and support, they are good, who knew?

I’ve worked too damn hard in my degree to bail on it now

Part of the increased head noise at the moment is that all my uni work is finished and there’s too much space for the Neg Voice to take over, which it did, almost the second I handed in my last assignment. I was convinced that everything I wrote was crap, and I’m going to fail, and I’ll never get a placement and I’ll never qualify and on and on in a spiral of doom. Reality has proved otherwise- I got my first one back on Wednesday and it’s a HD. Regardless of marks though, I love my course and I’m excited about my future. Dead = no future. Ergo, keep going. KEEP GOING.

People love me and care about me, even when I don’t believe that

I don’t believe this one, well, I find it really hard to accept. I just can’t fathom it. I’m here, I’m dead, what’s the difference? I lived my adolescence thinking I would be dead by the end of it and nobody would care. I tried, twice, to make that happen. To have the beginning of a supportive circle of people around me now, in my 20s, feels incredibly strange. But if I imagine somebody close and dear to me taking their life, and how devastated I would be, then maybe I can see why it’s not just me I’m fighting for. That’s compassion and that’s enough to hold me here. I’ve had this conversation with my Wise Woman a few times recently, and even knowing that she cares is holding me back, just that tiny but vital bit, from stepping over the edge.

Going through rental applications is a pain and I don’t want to inflict that on my housemates

Seriously, it’s awful. You have to interview people, and work out if they are weird enough to fit in but not so weird as to be annoying. And you have to fill out a zillion forms, and update Centrelink details, and vacuum the carpet to make it appear as if there’s no mice living in the house. Exhausting stuff. Wouldn’t wish it my worst enemy, and if I top myself, somebody would have to clean out my room AND go through the horrible process of trying to fill it.

OK, so it’s clear. No self-inflicted death allowed. Must. Keep. Living.

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Not An Option Today

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide talk. I’m not going to kill myself and I really hope you won’t either. Get help now and don’t read on if you think it may be harmful for you.

Long time no write, because I’m trying really hard to keep living from moment to moment, stay alive through the dark nights to get to the next day and do it all again. Because I write lists for myself that say things like ‘1. Get out of bed, 2. Take meds, 3. Try and do something physical’ and most days getting through those tasks takes nearly all of my energy and will. I got through my uni assignments and now I’m on holidays there’s a lot of unscheduled time and Neg Voice jumped straight in and yelled, JUST KILL YOURSELF, you fat ugly disgusting worthless piece of shit and it’s really easy to get sucked into and so so hard to climb out of.

I don’t want to die. I love my life, my course, my friends and family, the career I’m heading into, the thought of children in the future. I want to be here and make a difference in the world. BUT I struggle so much with living my life in my body. If it were ‘me’ in another body that I didn’t loathe so much, it would be different, I tell myself. Would it? Maybe, probably not. All I know that being in my skin is the hardest, most awful day-to-day struggle and the lure of not having to keep doing it is very strong. It’s brain versus body, emotional self verses physical self. I don’t think I can kill myself. There’s too big a part of me, real me, that is compassionate and aware of how much suffering I would cause, and how much loss. That part of stops me accessing a gun, or throwing myself in front of a train, or any of the other scenarios I entertain late at night. Dying intentionally is a very selfish act for a person who has built an identity on being considerate, helpful, mature, kind, empathetic. So, killing myself is not an option, I say in my head, over and over. Not today. Get through today and then we’ll deal with tomorrow.

Today I had a huge swim, because swimming has always calmed me down and getting physically tired helps manage the late night head noise. Swimming through the constant ‘you suck, you’re huge and gross, you look awful’ is really hard for the first few laps but the water helps so much. Plus, having to focus on not drowning is a good way to get out of my head. So it was overall a positive thing, everyone should try swimming, it’s awesome. But getting the bus home just after school peak hour was a bad move. Two girls got on and proceeded to bitch about their ‘friends’, their teachers, their parents and everything else that was bothering them. I put my music on and tried to blank them out.  One tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘Excuse me’.

‘Yes?’, I said, turning around, taking my headphones out and putting my usual polite smile on.

‘If I was as fat as you I would kill myself’, she said, and her friend and her both burst into laughter.

I turned bright red, as you do when somebody publicly humiliates you and tells you to top yourself as though it’s funny. How does she know that I think that all day, every day? was my first thought. ‘She’s just saying what everybody’s thinking. You don’t deserve to live, you hideous lard-arse’ screamed the Negative Voice. Say something back, you idiot! was my next coherent thought.

‘Sorry, killing myself is not an option today, too busy’ I said. There are better lines, but hey, I was under pressure. I turned around, put the headphones back in and tried really fucking hard not to cry.

That’s what it’s like, every day. It’s dealing with my own head as well as what other people see and what they do. It’s trying to summon up the courage to get out of bed and engage with the world. It’s wondering if I have a flashing sign attached to me, ‘I hate my body, really hate it, and I kind of want to kill myself but I’m trying really hard not to’. It’s feeling every millimetre of flesh squirm with shame whenever I’m out in public and visible. It’s  keeping busy enough so that the Negative Voice doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s trying to hold on and to remember that killing myself is NOT. AN. OPTION.


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Touching Earth Lightly

TRIGGER WARNING: For writing about to a previous suicide attempt and to current suicidal feelings. If you need immediate assistance call 000 (Emergency)  or Lifeline 13 11 14.  For other resources: Get Help Now.
To myself, and
To my surroundings
To the song that rises from this moment
          in which I am contained-
These dances rise up inside of me
          and spin out beneath me,
And it’s as if I stand back, inside myself
          and observe…
Available to constant flow and change,
I can balance
                  at the edge of the unknown
                                                        and experience fearlessness.
Eva Karczag

The words above were first shared with me by a dear friend and mentor, D. I met D when she became a co-facilitator of a queer youth performance group I was in. She appears quiet, but when she speaks all the wisdom and passion within her comes out in carefully chosen words and questions. She holds her own space, she is grounded, and that (I think) is what allows her to share herself with others in such an open and caring way- she knows, really knows, her own boundaries.


D saved my life in 2009. I had taken an overdose with full intention of ending my life. I remember cleaning out my life for weeks because I didn’t want people to be left with an image of me as messy or chaotic. I didn’t want to be exposed in death, when I had worked so hard in life to appear normal, happy, contained. I remember giving away bags of clothes and books to op-shops. Shredding years of academic and personal written work. I remember pressing ‘OK’ when Microsoft asked, ‘Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files?’.


I remember planning ahead for a time where I wouldn’t be found for at least a day. I remember stockpiling some drugs and buying others. I remember lining up pills in batches next to bottles of pure spirits. But I don’t recall the sensation of actually swallowing them. Who is that person?, I wondered as I floated above her. It can’t be me. I don’t drink alcohol. It’s bad for my epilepsy. 


I remember calling D and saying, ‘I tried to kill myself’. I remember regretting the words the instant they were out of my mouth. At the same time, relief. This isn’t up to me anymore. I might keep floating like I am now or I might sink like I intended, but I don’t have to make any more decisions about it. Then I don’t remember anything else until I woke up a week or so later in St.V’s.


I’ve been thinking-  about D., about that time, about Eva Karczag’s words – a lot lately. Thinking about what it means to be grounded, to be ‘aware of myself, my surroundings and…this moment in which I am contained’. Realising that- still! still, after all this time- groundedness for me means heaviness, disgust, shame at being seen. It means a constant battle with my body, second to second. Trying to get things done, to live and listen and speak, all of it feels equally heavy, exhausting, impossible.


What is the fucking POINT?, my head asks loudly, repeatedly. I will always be stuck in this body, always. Being present means being in this thing, this lump of adipose tissue, this holder of food and fat and trauma and memories. It means looking in the mirror each day and being overwhelmed, in less than a second, with thoughts of wanting to be dead, gone. It means lying in darkness and crying with shame into fear into exhaustion about having to face it again tomorrow.


Eva Karczag wrote those words as a way of expressing the importance of being in your body when doing improvised dance work. D. shared them with me and the youth theatre group to explain how capturing this essence when performing, moving moment to moment, being aware of self and of others, would help us improve our acting. I read those words, daily, and mostly I despair but sometimes I hope. I hope of finding a way to live with the lightness that I have only ever experienced when I was attempting to die.


I hope to be able to be grounded in my body, present in my mind, and attuned to my surroundings. I hope of one day touching earth lightly.



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And How Are You Today?

I can tell I’m pretty unhappy at the moment. This is the joy (heh) of being on the mental illness roller-coaster for a while: you get to know your illness, and yourself, better. If I had a little checklist in my brain of the things that let me know when  ‘me at normal depression level’ is slipping ‘me at super sadness’ then this is what it’d look like:


Am I a human or a bear who’s sleeping out the winter? Debatable, given how little I’ve left the house recently (let’s not talk about the hair thing). Over the weekend I didn’t make it out once, cos I thought I’d feel better all curled up under my blankets alone. Which I did, temporarily, but then I just felt like a social outcast/ over-anxious weirdo. Which made me feel sadder. That’s what we call a cycle of doom, kids.

Am I hibernating at the moment? Well, yes. I have a full day of classes tomorrow and if get to those I’ll give myself a big gold star. I couldn’t finish this post last night because exhaustion (see below). But today- I got to all my classes! I said things. Most of them weren’t stupid. I got tests returned. I got good marks. GOLD FREAKING STAR.

Everything feels too much/ unmanageable

Anti-depressents aren’t great but usually they do a good job at keeping my emotions manageable, e.g. I have dips, flat periods and highs rather than full-on tsunami-like level crashes. But depression is a sneaky thing and it can get through the pills sometimes. So then everything feels ‘too much’ and before long, even the tiniest things- getting up, having a shower, opening the window to let light in- become too hard. I guess what would classify me firmly in ‘super sadness’ is if all these small things became too much for several days at a time. Been there, don’t wanna go back.

Fuck, now I have ‘All The Small Things’ by Blink 182 stuck in my head. Party like it’s 1999.

Does everything feel like it’s too much to handle? Yes and no. If I can get out of bed I can do the rest of it. On Monday I managed to get up, start AND finish my essay, and get to the city to submit it precisely 4 minutes before it was due. Had a sweat outbreak on a peak hour train, survived it, got home, had a huge hill walk, felt better. Consider that day managed.

I forget all the things

Let’s just be upfront about this: I feel like I have lost my functional brain and short/ medium term memory sometime in the last few weeks.

So, Am I forgetting all the things? YES.

The most recent example of this is why I had to write an essay from scratch in 24 hours. I fucking forgot that it was even set, let alone due. Not my usual ‘Done some research, I’m ruminating on the topic and I’ll pull it together at the last minute’ style, which has actually been quite effective for me thus far, but TOTALLY. UTTERLY. FORGOTTEN. Urgh. I think I managed to churn out something quite respectable- thank you, choc-coated coffee beans- but time will tell.


I’m not really a sleeper. 4-5 hours a night, max. And in ‘normal’ times this is enough for me to be my usual functioning, busy, say-yes-to-everything self. But when I’m Ms. Saddy-Sadface and have to work extra hard at just not killing myself, then I get really, really tired. The kind of tired where my bones ache. My eyes feel like they’re going to drop out of my head. The bags under said eyes could hold a supermarket shop for a family of eight. Etc, etc. This makes sense, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. My mental exhaustion plays out in my physical body and provides yet another reason for me to hate the bloody thing. Did you spot that? That’s ANOTHER cycle of doom, right there.

Am I exhausted? Yup. Everything seems to be taking twice as much energy and effort. Need more sleep. Sleeeeeeeeep.

Extra- Super-Dooper Happy Mask Comes On In Public (also known as, A Little Bit Manic)

I’m a chatty, engaged/ engaging person when I’m normal/ baseline. I like to talk about the world and make jokes about it as a way of digesting the sometimes horrible things that happen. Most people tend to laugh along with this humour rather then get offended or run away horrified. I don’t worry excessively about clothes or what I look like. I get stuff done.

When I’m not happy I put a shitload of effort into pretending or appearing to be happy. Takes so much energy. Makes me feel exhausted. Only capable of writing short sentences. See what I did there?

But it mostly works. People at uni wouldn’t find me any different to normal. My parents certainly don’t notice but they have a lot invested in not noticing my moods, so meh. I wear masks in all public spaces, including this blog. But I seem to crank it up a notch when I’m feeling vulnerable/ depressed/ sad.

Is the Extra-Super-Dooper Happy Mask on? Sorta. I’m feeling better today (Tuesday) and I suspect it’s because I managed to get up, go to uni, engage. I don’t feel as exhausted or as if I was trying harder than usual. Yippee.

Listening to Particular Songs On Repeat Because They’re ALL ABOUT ME

I don’t mean this in a paranoid or schizophrenic  ‘the songs are talking to me and telling me to kill the Prime Minister’ kind of way. OK, we cool? What I do mean is, I’m emotionally raw and everything- sunlight, people’s voices, song lyrics- hits harder in this state. I am mostly a ‘girls with guitars singing about love and life’ type of music fan so my collection boasts plenty of songs that can trigger a cry if I’m a bit sadder than usual.

For example: older Ani DiFranco songs have been on high rotation. Viz:

Fire Door

…and I’m singing now because my tear ducts are too tired
and my mind is disconnected but my heart is wired
I make such a good statistic someone should study me now
someone’s got to be interested in how I feel
just because I’m here and I’m real…

Joyful Girl

I do it for the joy it brings, because I am a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world
I do it because it’s the least I can do, I do it because I learned it from you
and I do it just because I want to- because I want to

everything I do is judged
and they mostly get it wrong, but oh well
‘cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
and the woman who lives there can tell the truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye, and says would you prefer the easy way
no, well o.k. then, don’t cry…

Have I been listening to far too much Ani DiFranco?  Yes. Yes I have.
So there’s my checklist and I’m checking a few boxes right now. But I got up today and the sky was beautiful and clear. I walked this evening and got to see sun fade into the dusk, my very favourite shade of blue. I did really well on the test that clears me for placement. I got to eat an awesome apple that was the perfect mix of sweet, tart and crunchy.
And those reasons are enough to hang on for tomorrow.

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