Shiny new books & opportunities

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Hello. Hope you are ok.

Fiona Thomas’s new book is out in ebook format. Fiona is such a help when it comes to being A Freelance Writer and I’m looking forward to reading her new book. The Paperback is out in October. Get pre-ordering!

Writer hq have rounded up a bundle of writing opportunities and competitions.

I have also been reading Ache by Scarlett Ward. I have waited to read this for ages. The publisher Verve Poetry Press is still open for manuscripts and pamphlets until Midnight today. Get submitting!

Don’t forget Fly on the Wall Poetry press’ new issue comes out July 1st and my poem is included it. Download at this link here.


Pre-orders help the publisher gauge interest and get the book buzz before publication!


Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

Journal Entry on getting organized

Hello. Hope you are ok.

I like to kid on I’m organised. I’m actually not – my Dropbox is a mess, my notes on my phone are filled with ideas I keep telling myself to write on paper, my laptop has duplicated every single file so it’s a trip finding which Word doc. I am working on and my to do list is seemingly even longer by the time I get to Friday than it was on Sunday evening.

I become overwhelmed very quickly and procrastination sets in. My need for perfectionism gets me into a funk as well. When I am feeling depressed, the least I feel like doing is getting organised before I can even get to a project I am working on. It’s like my cleaning mantra, if I stuff everything into a cupboard it’s there, it’s fine, it’s out of sight. When in reality it has made a mountain out of a molehill.

I started using Microsoft’s To Do app a few weeks ago and it’s been a useful tool. As long as I don’t look at how much I need to do and focus on one task, I’m good. How easy is it to not look at all the tasks and flip the fuck out? Not very easy. I have split my tasks into categories of my writing, my freelance writing, my blog, social media posts – and that’s a lot.

My problem is I want it all and I want it now. That is, of course, detrimental to the quality of the work I am producing. I am trying to learn it’s good to brainstorm, plan, edit, and make something the best it can be. There is no rush or timeline. I must remember to enjoy what I am doing and slow the fuck down.

I think as well not being very confident I churn out all sorts, so I can get that kick from producing and feeling I’m doing something. Giving that appearance of being busy. I do think as a once ‘good girl’ my worth is tied into grades – into results and with depression, people always thought it was laziness. That’s what people thought I was. Lazy Kate. I put myself under so much pressure when I was 17/18. It was stressful. As hard as I tried, people still didn’t like what I was doing, or not doing in their eyes. I couldn’t change their perception of me. It made me deny I was depressed. I thought I was lazy. I thought it was my fault. This is me being a lazy bitch and it’s not illness, it’s laziness. That fucked me up for years. It’s amazing on the outside what mental illness ’looks like’ to people. I was a typical teenager – ‘difficult’ ‘insolent’ ‘lazy’ I was fucking depressed. I walked around, feeling like shit and hating everyone, the world, myself. The majority of my classmates and teachers took the mickey. I’m sure it must have been hilarious on the outside looking in. A socially isolated, struggling with puberty, and depression, self-harming young girl who was desperately looking for a connection and understanding. She never got it, so she ended up in a toxic relationship that nearly killed her.

That’s enough for now. Thanks for reading. Let me know how you get organised. Also how are you finding this new editor?

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A sweary brain dump on anxiety and counselling

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Hello

 
My counselling finished. I cannot afford it. After a year and however many months of trying to access help, I got it – from a women’s centre close to where I live. It has been 8 months, I think, of one session a week. I feel lost, to be honest. The decision was taken out of my hands. After last month’s depression and feeling lonely, I don’t think not having anyone to talk to is useful. It is shit. I am freaking out at being told I can start up again when I like but will be given a different counsellor depending on availability. I am sick of telling my story repeatedly to professionals. Especially when I’m like ‘oh, it’s fine!’ and they’re like, ‘that must have been tough for you,’ so I don’t like the thought of entrusting another person with my past. I know I’m no-one special and my experiences are not unique, it isn’t that a big deal.

 
I feel like I have opened all these wounds from the past and the memories are overwhelming at times. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them. I just feel shit about them.

 
My anxiety feels through the roof at the moment. I’m thinking about appointments I need to make after lockdown and even supermarket trips have an added layer of anxiety because of social distancing. It makes me feel like shit when you are in the supermarket and waiting for a person to finish picking up what they are getting from the shelf and they deliberate and change their mind and after three minutes I realise they have no idea I am there, waiting for them to move. Coughing doesn’t sound like a good idea to do now and I lose my voice in social environments, so after looking stupid, I go and get something else and come back when it’s free. It’s a worry I have, that I have no presence, that people seem to not notice me. It makes me think am I dead, am I invisible, is there something wrong with me?

 
No, people are knobheads, Kate.

 
The anxiety pisses me off. I have always had it and thought I was used to it and I actually realise it’s isolating and people are writing what they are going to do when they get out of lockdown and seeing friends and going to the beach and whatever. I’m writing stuff like see the doctor, go to the dentist, etc. because I haven’t in so long because anxiety is like ‘bitch, please. You really think you could do that without fucking up. Stay in your lane,’

 
Anxiety about my health is huge. I don’t think people appreciate what it takes, to phone to get an appointment and then building yourself up to go to the appointment. You’re thinking about what to wear, the bus, should I walk, the weather, what will happen in the appointment, what will I say, will I be taken seriously, will I be waiting long, do they have a toilet in the surgery, will they ask me to use the self-service machine I’ve never used before to weigh myself and get my height, will the receptionist be nice, will I be able to speak, will I make a fool of myself, what if I’m late, what if the doctor thinks I’m wasting their time, will they even look up from their computer at me, will I get a chance to speak my mind, what if I break the chair, will the surgery be busy, will everyone stare at me, what if the doctor doesn’t do anything, what if the doctor fobs me off, what if they give me medication and I have to tell them I cannot afford it and no, I’m not on benefits so I cant be exempt from charges, what if I don’t know the right stop to get off the bus, what if it rains, do I need an umbrella, which coat do I wear, will I get too hot, should I take a drink, should I take snacks, what am I going to do after, I’m going to have to walk past the railway tracks, it’s too loud, too many people –

 
You get the idea. Time becomes irrelevant. The appointment takes up every waking minute of every day leading up to it. I try and stay busy and distracted but it’s hard. I wish I could take my head off at times.

 
I know it’s ridiculous. I know if I could snap my fingers and not worry and be anxious, I would but I seemingly cannot. It’s the way I live. Every part of my life involves thinking too hard about it and I am in my comfort zone and when I dare try to do something new, anxiety pulls me in. It wants to save me from looking stupid and being rejected. It’s a nice thing of it to do, but it’s a hinderance, rather than a help. I realise that. Counselling has been one step out of the comfort zone, and it was positive. It was one day a week I left home and had a purpose. I was consistently going, my routine changed. Because it’s difficult for me to leave the flat without a goal, I need a reason to go out and other than shopping, visit to the public library, I got nothing. I have no-one to help me with that. I think a person could be of help. I have my boyfriend but, you know. He’s probably suffered as well. He’s outgoing but now he doesn’t do much either.

 
It’s frustrating because I nailed it late last year. Went out at least 5 days out of 7 and when my boyfriend and I went on holiday, we went out every day. I might have a good couple of days while on holiday and then I want to stay in the hotel room and not leave. It’s a positive we have been on holidays. It hasn’t been easy. Going to the shop to book the holiday, going to Primark to buy holiday clothes, packing literally everything in case we have burglars while we’re away, the travel to the airport, then navigating the airport, security, hours to kill, queues to buy an overpriced newspaper and bottle of water, delays, boarding, the transport to the plane, getting onto the plane, off the plane is horrendous and then queues to get through the airport, toilets, finding our luggage, transfer to the hotel is awful, check in, finding our room, food control issues so must first go the supermarket and buy supplies, restaurants, the beach, public toilets, body image problems – the list is endless and I do shut down. My boyfriend knows I’m not there at all and knows not to ask, just get me through the airport, onto the plane and to the hotel.

 

No-wonder I get burnout.

 
I tried to find positives here. I’m trying, which is good.
Thanks for reading, Drop a comment if I said anything that made sense to you.


 

My Thoughts on Two Non-Fiction reads

Dry by Augustin Burroughs

Published by Atlantic Books

4/5

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I think I prefer that second cover.

Dry is the story of Augustin, of his drinking which isn’t a problem, of entering rehab at the request of his employers, and then navigating life on the outside: sober. I highlighted this part – when Augustin began to realise the consequences of his drinking, demonstrated by the bottles that had piled up in his flat and on his return home, having to bag them all up. I liked that metaphoric imagery of the weight of drinking. (Looking too deeply into things again, Kate?)

Quote 

‘I feel like I drank a bottle of wine. I even feel guilty,’
‘Exactly,’ I say, relieved that he feels it too. Relieved that I am not the only one who is so unaccustomed to happiness and the feeling of impending punishment that follows.’


Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

Published by Amazon Publishing

3/5

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Coming Clean is a well written memoir, starting with stories from Kimberly’s childhood – then expanding on her family and her father: a hoarder. I liked how she wrote about hoarding realities vs the stereotypical images we have all seen depicted on televisions shows. It was a good read if you want a real, honest account on what it is like to live with and know a hoarder.


My experiences with food and drink with depression

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This week’s, no last week’s, meal plan. This was a success. Because I have had depression, it is difficult to reign in eating sandwiches and crisps and it makes making a choice what to have for dinner hard too. With the meals written down, it feels like a commitment and is a closed choice. You know, those are the choices, pick one or the other. It’s flexible, I haven’t eaten all these meals this week. Because there were leftovers to be eaten. I had spag bol for breakfast. It was delicious. I live with my boyfriend. There’s two of us. Our weekly shop usually comes to eighty or ninety pounds.


With this meal plan as well, I have been able to eat vegetables. With depression, you don’t tend to reach first to fill up on vegetables. So I mashed cauliflower into the potatoes and with the pasta sauce I chopped up carrots, celery and onion. I figure if you can chop them up small enough, veggies are adept at hiding in sauces and potatoes. Mash needs some flavour, otherwise it’s like eating clouds or wet paper. Not that I enjoy eating cauliflower, I should have got broccoli. I confuse the two.
My go to meal is baked beans, bacon, eggs and waffles. That can be cooked in fifteen minutes. It doesn’t take too long to eat. It’s filling. Not too painful. Of course, if you – like me have a ton of washing up to do and have no cooking utensils to hand, cereal and yogurt are another one of my go to’s.


When it comes to liquids, I do buy bottles of water. I know it’s terrible for the planet, but it is easier to stay hydrated when depressed when you can grab a bottle from the fridge. I do own a refillable bottle, and obviously with depression the effort required to clean, fill and refrigerate it can be beyond me. I do use it when I can. Alcohol is something I try to not drink when I am depressed. Like I say, I try. I admire those who can have one drink and then stop. I know there are a lot of lockdown drinking memes around. Plenty of people quipping, ‘I’ll have a drinking problem when I get out of lockdown!’ And the truth of it is people may well have become alcohol reliant in current circumstances. That’s the thing with alcohol, it starts as one drink of an evening and then can become two or three into the night. Never mind the damage inflicted on your body in the short term during this lockdown. As I mentioned earlier some people can have one drink, and humour is what people use to cope. Even if it is inappropriate, it is in my eyes – but if you haven’t experienced addiction and alcoholism, then it won’t be. I think alcohol is a poison and is like knocking back paint stripper or similar concoctions that are found in the shed with a large warning sign on the side of them.
In any case, it certainly does not help depression.


I used to be the person like water?! It’s disgusting and naff. No thank you. Now I am advocating people drink water. I have grown.


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