author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Caring For Mental Health In This World

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. Thankfully it wasn’t horrendous for me – I still had a job, I still had a house and a car and I had my health. However, 2020 was still filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It definitely was not an easy year, even if my year was better than a lot of other people.

A lot of people understand the stress and anxiety that many have gone through this year. Everyone’s story is different, and not everyone will understand why certain things caused you anxiety. It’s important to remember that your anxiety is valid and is a part of your own personal journey. Not everyone will experience the same thing.

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” 

Joubert Botha

I make sure I continue to power forward each day and I try not to let the anxieties overwhelm me. It can be difficult, and there have been days where I’ve stayed in bed for most of the day, but I try not to let my anxiety dictate my life.

I may spend a day isolated because of my mental health, but I try to pick myself back up the next day and continue forward. I let myself feel my feelings, that’s why you have them after all. But I won’t stop everything and stay in bed for weeks on end. But, it’s perfectly okay to spend those days in bed or isolated at home. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes your mental health won’t allow you to do anything, so it’s okay to take care of yourself and isolate when you need too.

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

Lori Deschene

It’s rough at the moment being forced to isolate no matter what. Even the most introverted people need some escape, and it was extremely limited in 2020, and continues to be an issue in 2021. I love my home time and I love my alone time. I am very much an introverted person, but even I have been going stir-crazy in this isolating time. It’s been hard to keep a positive attitude, but I know there will be an end soon and the craziness will calm down.

I’ve neglected my writing a bit during COVID lockdowns, due to mental health, but I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon this year and I’m trying to find the motivation and I’m trying to push forward. It’s time to get my groove back and not let this isolating time beat me down anymore.

2021 will be my year. I will finish editing my novel in 2021. I will write a new novel in 2021. I will move forward and leave the chaos of COVID behind as best I can!

author, pandemic, Writing

Fanfiction and Other Writings

“There’s a time and place for everything, and I believe it’s called ‘fan fiction’.”

Joss Whedon

I admit it! I am a sucker for fanfiction! It’s a whole other world of creative writing and it is so much fun to indulge in.

I haven’t written much fanfic in a while, but I definitely do indulge in reading it. I always choose the fantasy worlds and my gaming worlds to read fanfiction about.

It’s fun to get absorbed in a world you already know and read about characters you know and enjoy someone else’s take on those characters.

Woman Sitting on Chair Using Black Ipad

I do enjoy those worlds and reading and writing fanfic. It is a fun world to get into, and kind of like a rabbit hole!

I have also been enjoying writing some short stories and poetry recently. It’s hard to do too much with novels while Uni is on, but I do try to be somewhat creative. Short stories help me to take small breaks from my studies and remain creatively minded.

It is fun throwing together a short story, and maybe one day I’ll compile them together! Who knows what the future holds?

But, for now, I’m going to go indulge in some fanfiction before returning to my current assessment!

“Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.”

Lev Grossman
author, holidays, pandemic, Writing

Bring On The Holidays

“Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you’ve got a Christmas tree in the living room.”

Nora Roberts

I am so excited! Christmas Day is in just 3 days and I cannot wait! I absolutely love the Christmas season and I am beyond excited that it is so close! I can’t wait to give presents to people and see their faces when they get those presents. I love being able to give and show the people I care about how much I love.

It’s such a magical, happy time of year and I’m excited to get into all the Christmas festivities.

I haven’t been writing much at all this month, just because I’ve been so busy with Christmas things and incredible amount of shifts I’ve been getting this month. It’s always ‘go, go, go’ when it hits mid-November until about mid-January.

I like to take some time out during the craziness though. It’s important to reflect on the things that matter and really enjoy time spent with family. I’m lucky enough to have Christmas Day off which means I can spend the whole day with family.

“Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us.”

David Cameron

I love being able to see my family and celebrate this season. It’s an important holiday, especially as a Christian. It’s the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and that’s always magical. It’s important for me to reflect on the birth of Jesus and Christmas’ meaning for me.

Additionally, I love the family time. It’s so beautiful to spend time with family and that we are all able to take the time away from work and spend time together, celebrating together and giving and having a good time.

I cannot wait for Christmas Day to hit! And on that note – Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone!

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”

Agnes M. Pahro
author, holidays, pandemic, writing

Writing During The Holiday Season

“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.”

John J. Geddes

I love this time of year. I love spending time with family and enjoying Christmas together. It really is a magical time of year.

I’ve well and truly put up all my Christmas decorations and I’m 90% done with presents! I love being able to give to people and being able to see their faces and feel their joy when they open their presents.

It’s a time of joy, and a time of giving. It’s beautiful, but it is also incredibly busy. My work picks up around the holidays so I’m currently getting a lot of shifts. It’s nice, but it also means that I’m very on the go.

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”

Ruth Carter Stapleton

It’s hard to find time to sit out during the chaos and get some writing done. I find it important not to beat myself up during this time – not writing is fine over the holiday season!

I don’t panic too much right now – I used to kick myself down so much when I wasn’t writing during these holiday times. I’ve thankfully learnt that it is okay, it’s a very busy time and I’m bound to spend less time writing.

I am trying to sit out and get a little writing done where I can, but I’m not forcing it on myself and I know that it’s going to be hard over this season. I figure, once we’re through the holiday season I will be able to get cracking full-time into my writing once again!

But for now, I’m going to enjoy the Christmas season and not stress about writing heaps!

“Christmas now surrounds us, Happiness is everywhere. Our hands are busy with many tasks as carols fill the air.”

Shirley Sallay
author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Mental Health Struggles and Triumphs

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

Fred Rogers

I have had my fair share of mental health struggles. It has such a stigma, but there really shouldn’t be anything wrong with admitting you are struggling.

I have spent time on antidepressants and for a while I was seeing a psychologist every week. It’s sort of what spurred me towards studying to be a psychologist, although it wasn’t the only reason.

Mental health is not something to be ashamed of. So many people struggle with various mental health disorders and it needs to be less stigmatised. There is nothing wrong with you getting help or acknowledging something isn’t quite right.

I have experienced a few mental health disorders, and I do still struggle with a few. It’s a long battle to overcome your own mind, and it takes a lot of time.

“Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.”

Jasmine Warga

I have days when I’m good and days when I’m bad. It’s completely normal to feel this way. Ups and downs are normal and having days when you don’t want to leave your bed is also completely normal. As long as you don’t let it control you, it is okay.

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to feel proud for doing small things other people find easy. Days are more challenging when you have a mental illness, and you just need to take it one step at a time. Take self-care steps and take time for yourself and your own health.

“Sometimes self-care is exercise and eating right. Sometimes it’s spending time with loved ones or taking a nap. And sometimes it’s watching an entire season of TV in one weekend while you lounge around in your pyjamas. Whatever soothes your soul.”

Nanea Hoffman

Mental illness is no joke and it is very real for so many people. It needs to be spoken about more, and small victories should be celebrated. You went down 5mg on your medication, celebrate! You have social anxiety and made it to a friend’s party, celebrate! You managed to get out of bed and brush your teeth, celebrate!

The small things are major victories when mental illness is at work, and those small things are so important when you are in those dark places. Hold onto those small victories and be proud of each step you manage to take, because they are something to be proud of!

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

John Green
author, pandemic, writing, Writing

Reading Is My Happy Place

“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

E.B. White

I love a good book. I love being able to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with a book. It really is my happy place.

There are so many amazing books out there, and I make a habit of reading for at least an hour a day (as much as possible). I love being able to immerse myself into these characters and leave my own worries behind.

It’s fun being able to immerse yourself into a different world. I love being able to put myself into the character’s shoes and walk through their trials and triumphs with them.

Each novel is unique and writing styles vary drastically. It’s so important to keep reading different books and seeing different styles of writing and immersing yourself into different worlds.

It helps me to remain focused on my own writing style and my own character development. It’s fun being able to use different books as inspiration in my own writing and being able to utilise different techniques in writing.

Primarily, I just love being able to get away for an hour or so and indulge in a good book. I love the serenity it brings me and the joy. There is something truly special about curling up with a book and leaving your own world behind.

“The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.”

Benjamin Franklin
author, pandemic, writing

How My Study Influences My Writing

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

I am one of those few people who enjoy studying. I haven’t had a bad time during my years studying and I do enjoy learning and growing through my study.

I have found throughout my years studying, I have learnt so many valuable skills. I have learnt more about human interaction and how to write appropriately.

I learnt that fancy words often aren’t better than simple words and I learnt how to appropriately structure a sentence.

Studying definitely isn’t for everybody, but I do enjoy expanding my mind and learning more things.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

My psychology degree is incredibly influential towards my writing. Not only do I enjoy the degree, but I am learning a lot about human behaviour and mental illnesses that I can use in my writing.

I love being able to introduce psychological elements into my writing. I’ve become more interested in psychological thrillers and I’m even considering writing one when my current novel is complete.

Studying is definitely a fun world for me and it influences my writing so much. I won’t be studying my whole life, but I’m enjoying the short time I am studying and using as much knowledge as I can in my writing.

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

Thomas Edison
author, pandemic, writing

Infection Point Excerpt

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I decided that it would be nice to post just a little except from my novel. Not much, but hopefully enough to keep you wanting more! Progress is slow, but it is happening, and I am getting so much closer to having a ready-to-go novel!

It’s nice to be able to put a little bit out there and see what it’s like to the public. I know I’m quite a way off getting it published and out there, but I enjoy being able to share little snippets as I can!

I hope you enjoy reading my little snippet!

Grace stood alone, surrounded by untamed weeds and forests of trees. The red sun threw lifeless light onto the land, highlighting the grey tinge to the grass. Rubble could be seen strewn throughout the grass and echoes of what was once a road peeped through the overgrown weeds. Grace’s red hair was jaggedly cut at shoulder-length, with her fringe just above her eyes. Her brown eyes flickered as she watched the small lizards crawl across the land, determined to have the nearby spider for lunch. She lifted her gaze upwards, recognising movement within an old city ahead of her. A determined frown settled on her face as she purposefully moved forward. Usually she avoided cities like this, but she needed supplies – she had no option other than to search this city and hope that there was some form of medicine within.

iNFECTION pOINT BY EMILIE TURNER