As I write this, I’m propping up a young man named Chuck. He is handsome, with big sad eyes, he loves cuddles and he is 28… in dog years. His mother Roxy is under my legs with my girl Lady curled into her. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind – I’m dogsitting for a friend of mine while she’s on holiday with her family! I’ve been here since Sunday evening and will be going back home on Monday.
Chuck is a massive softie, he rarely leaves my side and he constantly wants love and affection. He reminds me a lot of my Shandy if I’m honest, especially with his sad puppy eyes and his head on my arm as I write this. Roxy is 7, and she has formed a very strong bond with Lady as they are both older girls who like to get up to mischief. They have been playing a lot together, while Lady seems to have taken up the role of pack leader, being the oldest of the three of them. It’s funny, but also frustrating, as the little madam is now trying to usurp my authority as Alpha. Yes, I am the Alpha. Deal with it. So when we leave, hopefully she’ll give Roxy back her throne and remember who provides the treats when we get home!
While I’ve been here, I’ve been doing a ton of writing. I haven’t spoken about this much, but I am in the process of writing a series of novels based on a horror webseries that I began last year. Sadly, real life and illness got in the way, and it became impossible to continue the series in the medium of film – so I resolved to finish the story as a novel.
Well, after outlining everything that needs to happen in the book, one novel seems to have split into a trilogy as there is a lot of story to tell! And I am determined to have it written and available for people to read – whether it’s as a series of free ebooks or published in actual print – by this time next year.
I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pen. My parents taught me to read and write before I’d even started preschool, and it’s one skill I’m grateful to have. I go through phases where I don’t write as much, as evidenced in this blog, but when I have rushes of inspiration – you pretty much have to tear me away from the laptop and notebooks.
From what I can remember, my earliest short stories were actually pretty sad and messed up. I recall writing and illustrating a tale of two mermaids being kidnapped and tortured by a pair of mermen who wanted to force them into marriage – when they refused, they killed them. I was five. I also wrote a short story of the best ever school trip ever with my friends, where we decided to leave our homes and live in the museum forever. At the same age, I also helped several boys in my class in year 6 write their epic sequel to Starship Troopers (it had been on TV the night before and despite being very 18-rated, pretty much every other 11-year-old in my class had watched it…) and I had the joy of writing my own gruesome death.
If my amazing borderline memory serves me correctly, I died heroically by throwing myself in front of the Brain Bug’s bigger, badder brother who wanted revenge and tried to kill the main guys from my class, and I got my brain sucked out but it threw my brain up because I was too much of a boffin and that was poisonous to them. I still don’t know how our teacher was okay with us all doing this – but it kept everyone quiet for a few days, I suppose.
I actually went through a period when I was a teenager when I realised that, although my real life was generally quite horrible, whatever I wrote became true on paper – and that was important. Books had been a refuge my whole life thanks to my nan constantly giving me books as gifts, and it was a wonderful escape. I don’t think my parents ever really understood why I became so engulfed in reading – in fact, reading too much often came with being berated for being ‘lazy’. At age 12, I spent the whole of the Christmas holidays reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, a feat that I couldn’t even repeat now as an adult, and my dad grounded me for reading too much.
…so I went to my room and carried on reading. You can’t ground an asocial child, my parents soon learned.
So yes, life was sad. But my stories made me feel better. I wrote fantasy stories where I was a wise mage who aided my far more powerful and interesting friends in dangerous quests, zombie stories where we battled Brummie zombies, and I wrote some very interesting stories when I realised I fancied my History teacher – I’m pretty sure my mom found those in my hiding place and destroyed them. There was also a novel-in-progress that I started writing at 13, and still haven’t finished despite reworking it over the years so it makes sense. One day I’ll get it finished. One day.
After outlining the current piece, I feel positive that I can actually get something finished for people to read. But that’s not all I’m thinking about at the moment.
I have been writing about my mental health issues quite openly via blogs since 2012, ever since I realised that I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about something that is such a huge part of my life. Since then, my mental health has got worse, and with my BPD diagnosis, I feel like I want to share more with the world. There are things I have written in notebooks, diaries, other places online, that give a much more vivid insight as to how my wonky brain works, and although I’m not exactly an expert in recovering from mental illness, I have a lot of experience that I would like to share with other people who might be suffering in silence.
When I wrote my first blogs back in 2012, I got an overwhelming amount of support from friends and people online, who told me that what I had written had helped them to come to terms with their own mental health. A few friends started keeping journals for themselves, others actually plucked up the courage to seek professional help and support – I was so proud of them, and pleased that my words had such an impact.
I’ve also been told that my style of writing is also entertaining to read, because I like to write how I think – that often involves swearing like a sailor, bizarre tangents and other rambles – and friends have told me that they like the way my brain works in that sense. In fact, a friend I hadn’t seen in months saw me not that long ago, and told me after I had made some random comment on how old people in garden centres are a nightmare (you know this is true) that he had missed my thoughts.
That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.
So, I am currently considering writing a book about my battles with depression, anxiety and BPD – including how I believe I came to be borderline – and also how I overcame it enough to be the coherent, semi-functioning adult that is currently writing this blog, like part-autobiography, part self-help I guess? I don’t want to tell people how to cope, but I’d like to tell them how I cope. My Other Half was very passionate about the idea of me publishing a book like this, as there isn’t a lot out there for people with BPD by people with BPD and he feels it could help.
…before I think too much on that though, I’ve gotta get these damn novels written! And of course, progress relies purely on my mood and energy levels. The joy of living with a mental illness I suppose?
Speaking of spoons, I need to wrap this up – Chuck has just dropped a slobbery ball on my laptop, and the girls are giving me their best mopey looks. Time to get messy.