Spooky

I have been unwell for the past couple of days. My sister and her family visited me over the weekend, it was glorious.

On Sunday night my partner’s mother was taken to hospital – it was really worrying for a while but she seems to be on the mend. On Monday they moved her to another hospital and ward, she seems to be doing much better now.

Later that day I received a phone call from a family member of mine, I am worried about him and wanted to go to visit him but I’ve been in bed with a bug/infection/virus since. I checked my email that evening and I had been asked in to a work meeting on Tuesday. I had to decline and explain I cannot make it until the end of the week.

Yesterday was spent in bed and I hoped I’d be able to relax. I felt a little emotional and couldn’t rest because I was finding it hard to breath.

Today was the same. But I had an added bonus of a plumber doing work in my flat for ten hours. In fairness, he was very considerate and understanding but it was some upheaval I could do without. He’s coming back tomorrow to finish the work off.

This evening I noticed I won (drew) in the UCA SU election. I can only assume I applied in a rush, or that my brain wasn’t working, or that I was in the beginning stage of burn out but I stood in the wrong year!!! So I had to stand down. I feel embarrassed and I want to cry a little bit. I’m going to post some screenshots because if I wasn’t feeling so ill and silly I’d be proud:

source: ucasu.com/elections

Girl Germs

I have been up all morning feeling displaced(?) and wondering WTF!? I felt like I was having an out of body experience.

Twelve hours ago, I was sitting in bed writing an article and listening to a Girl Germs podcast.

This is the life I had envisioned for myself twenty years ago (well, I never knew podcasts would be a thing but I wanted to surround myself with people who inspire me). I am in such an incredibly good place.

Teenage Nina has all the feels right now.

Winner

This time last year, I was a mess. This year I had three pieces of really good news. Three!

I found out I have been shortlisted for a poetry competition. A member of the Canterbury Christ Church University library team contacted me last week, and asked me to attend the award ceremony. Last year I came second place in the competition and felt bad I didn’t attend the ceremony (if you haven’t read my entry, Feral Youth is here). I wanted to go to offer support.

So, the ceremony started and who ended up being the winner? Me!

Incidentally, how long have I been turning my feet inwards during photo opportunities? At least since 2014, I think.

When announced I felt my face heat up. I had a little panic because I couldn’t remember my entry so I wasn’t sure if it is something I’d feel embarrassed about others hearing. Luckily, the poem wasn’t read out but I missed the judges feedback on the poem because I was internally bracing myself to hear my words. I became a little bit afraid when I heard the poem was called Imposter.

I chatted to the staff briefly but then had to head off to work for a focus group I was taking part in.

I beavered away at my work until mid-afternoon. A person I met recommend I go to Augustine House to introduce myself to some local companies and talk to them about the work I do and perhaps look into them attending an event I am organising next year. Brilliant. I turned up and went to speak to Unitemps about an application I had put in for a casual second job. I hadn’t been shortlisted and it was slightly disappointing to hear, especially as the person doing the shortlisting knows me through work. But I figured it’s OK because I jokingly said to my partner earlier that morning I’ll start taking my writing seriously again if I win first prize.

While I was visiting I spoke to an ex-colleague who advised me that they tried to email me and didn’t get a reply. It was then that I figured my university email address was still active so I logged in to see what was happening. Most emails were spam but I replied to the important ones and sent my new contact details to them. A few moments after that I got my second job rejection of the day. I felt deflated and spoke to a few other people before heading home.

En route I decided to work on the bus. I got a different bus to usual and sure regretted it! It was rowdy and someone kept pressing the stop button so it took longer than usual. I noticed an email from a company I had submitted writing to last month – it turns out they were thinking about creating an anthology and asked if it was something I would consider being part of. Today was turning out better than imagined.

I got home and watched some television. I started feeling unwell, but as I had a day of unexpected highs and lows in addition to being in anxiety-inducing situations I figured I just needed some rest. I thought I’d check my emails one last time because there were a few outstanding enquiries I had with some of my contacts.

What do you think I saw when I opened my emails?

Another writing opportunity. It turns out a piece I pitched for Mslexia‘s For The Love Of It earlier in the year has been picked up. Wow!

Trotting along

I just got home from a meeting. A meeting I had been feeling anxious about for months. So anxious that September was a blur of panic attacks and tears. I was talking through research I had done over the summer. I am confident the work I done was thorough, and I didn’t feel ill-equipped with my reports. Rather, I just felt overwhelmed and unable to vocalise what was in my head (yes, I rehearse my presentations and no it doesn’t help). Eyes on me make me want to clam up, I stutter and stumble and generally regret the sounds that come out of my mouth. I feel a push-pull between wanting to impress and wanting to disappear.

I end the day feeling exhausted; tired from using my energy to remain calm and not relive my awkward moments. I spend the following hours and sometimes days hearing the voices from the interactions that caused me unease. And I talk back to them; I chastise myself for not being clever. I say hurtful things to myself. I wish I could go back in time and say to people “I promise I know what I’m trying to say, but it’s not coming out well.” At times it feels hopeless, I wonder how long before I can be eloquent. Or if it will ever happen at all.

But I’m back home now. It’s October and all the autumnal things that make me happy are on the horizon. I have a couple of days off (and I have promised myself not to fill them up with work or writing) and I feel secure. In truth, I know I probably didn’t sound as foolish as I felt in my meeting. When my head quiets down a bit I might begin to feel content with my performance. But right now I feel the need to hideaway.

On the plus side, I saw that I’ve been published on nuhafoundation.org an hour ago. Yay.

Give That Horse A Rest

Non-start

Wow. It’s three months until Xmas. So I have been an alumna for seven months (officially). It’s been a rollercoaster year for me.

Next week I am giving a small presentation on some research I have been doing infrequently over the summer. I’m nervous.

I was also due to be starting my college course, but I am not. I missed my enrolment and induction, then got back in touch with my tutor and administrative department to negotitate a later start date. They arranged one but I decided against pursuing another course this year.

I have rereferred back to counselling (so I feel a bit weird to be studying counselling too!). I was due to start that last week but I’ve been experiencing agoraphobia, so I have been working from home more often. I decided it was time to shake myself out of my funk so I took a bus to counselling. It was noisy, crowded and busy. The movement around me hurt my head and my eyes. I could hardly breathe at moments.

When I got into the counselling office I felt nervous; I normally do when meeting new people. But I am glad I went. Once I start talking I forget how afraid I was an hour earlier.

I spoke for forty minutes pretty much non-stop. This is the most I had shared with anyone this year!!! I realised how much I had isolated myself from people. Also, as a blogger, I write about my feelings a lot. But there is a type of self-censorship I use here. Even when I talk about depression I feel like I’m putting on the socially acceptable mask of depression (you know, the one when I tell people I’ll get through it rather than the one when I tell people that it all feels hopeless?).

I felt like I had taken a load off my mind.