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Me, Myself and I

This blog will be necessarily short, as I am still pretty exhausted after a second 10 day stay in the Royal Edinburgh for my mental health.

The first time I ended up in hospital was in October 2018, shortly after opening up about some traumatic stuff from my past. You would be forgiven for thinking, based on my online presence and how I live my life day-to-day, that I find being open and vulnerable easy and even fun. And sometimes, yes, that's true. But ask me to open up to someone I love about something that risks hurting them? That's when I start to struggle.

This time round it was much the same story; despite my fears, I opened up about some stuff that I have found painful for some time, and I just couldn't cope with the response. Anxiety landed hard, followed by sleep deprivation, and ultimately the outcome was the same - off to a psych ward to "rest and recover".

The problem is that of all the places in the world a highly-sensitive introvert like me could go to rest, a chaotic psych ward filled with overworked and anxious staff, and other suffering women is probably the least likely to offer the peace and alone time I need to recover from overstimulation. So although I was functioning (just) when I checked myself in, I went downhill very quickly and it took me a full ten days to adjust sufficiently to the environment to be fit to negotiate my way back out again.

However, I don't want to spend much time ruminating on the horrible parts of being in hospital. I am home now and being very careful to take it easy, rest up, spend time alone, listen to music, sing a little, dance a little, eat good food, drink plenty of water - all the things that I have learned in the last two years are necessary for keeping me well.

For today, I am going to share something lovely that I found in a place where it's all too easy to lose your sense of self. When I was admitted, the ward was full [please insert obligatory FUND THE FUCKING NHS PROPERLY rant for another day], so I was placed in a temporary bed in "the quiet room". The nurse who led me there apologised, but I just laughed and said "You know what? That actually sounds like bliss to me right now."

And here is what I found in the quiet room.

Ok so jigsaw puzzles baffle and annoy me. They take too long, they're far too fiddly, and there's always a risk that the last piece will be missing. But this one was exactly what I needed to see, right at the moment I needed to remember who I am the most.

I'm Elaine. I write fairy tales. My idea of bliss is to be alone in a silent library where there could be a secret passage behind any panel, and the shelves are lined with magic and the smell of dusty old books.

Also, nice cornices. ;-)

But then again, I'm also Elaine. I write feminist fairy tales. I'm competent, organised and strong enough to negotiate the terms of my release from a mental institution with doctors who *really* don't enjoy dealing with assertive women. I don't wait about to be rescued, I order a damn taxi and I get myself home.

And that'll do for today.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Lots of love from me! xx

ps: If you like stories about women who are unafraid to rescue themselves, and men who are strong enough to stand up to the patriarchy, please click here to buy your copy of The Silver Moon Storybook.

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