Category Archives: Natural Health


After two days of frantic activity, had a very quiet day today.  Kind of had to.  I drank a bottle and a half of wine last night.  Why?  I have no idea. It was there and I drank it.

Despite also having water to drink before going to bed and during the night, I was hungover as hell this morning. Got up at 11 with a massive headache. I wasn’t sick, but did retch a few times. I tried to function, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead I went back to bed.

I got up about 3, to find that our son was on the phone to my hubby, it being Father’s Day and all.  I did talk to him too, thankfully all’s well with him and his significant other.

Since then I have been going through a load of the papers and notebooks that were on the various bookcases. Picking what to keep and what to throw away. Most of it got thrown out. I had three plastic shopping bags worth of paper, one of cardboard, and one of the wire that binds my preferred style of notebooks. That’s also six magazine racks emptied.  Which is a good start on the getting rid of stuff. 

When moving around all the bookcase from the hall and landing, I decided it was time to trim the collection.  It’s easy to get rid of the my notes, the next step is to rationalise my book collection.  That’s going to be harder.  I love books, and getting rid of any will hurt.  But it’s got to be done, and to quote one book I don’t have “Tomorrow is another day” and this time, I won’t wake up with a hangover.

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“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

― Samuel Johnson

No one is getting hanged, but one of the guys I work with is leaving the business at the end of next week.  This guy is very good, very clever, and he’s key to one of the development projects that I’m working on. 

While I was off, nothing was done – at least nothing that was actually useful. So since I’ve been back I’ve been trying to get this thing sorted.  It’s complex and takes a lot of concentration, and I am getting there.  But I’m worried that with my contact leaving, that I won’t get the information I need after next week.   What was worse, is that his manager added requirements to the list today.  I’m not sure that I can get all that done by the end of next week.

Here’s the problem with that – the reality is that I probably can get the development done in that time.  But knowing that I have no leeway piles the pressure on.  There was a great temptation to stay ‘at work’ this evening and get more done, but I know that that is the road to workaholic hell.

I’ve actually had to have a talk to myself to turn the laptop (works) off and stop.  What I couldn’t do was stop work and relax, I had to have something else to that needed doing – so I did a load of ironing.  Which is no bad thing, chores do need to get done and that was starting to nag from the corner.

This indicates to me that I’m finally getting into stride with stress management, and that has to be good, it should help me avoid falling back into a depression.  I’ll worry about the database tomorrow.

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Of late I have to say that my mental health is definitely on the up, but I had a really bad night the other night. I haven’t mentioned it before because I wasn’t ready to, but now I can.

You see I wasn’t sleeping well. I was laying in bed and getting hot and cold. I wasn’t sweating, but I would grow hot and then my temperature would suddenly drop and I’d start shivering. Added to that there was no getting comfortable.

I started having really dark thoughts about death and being buried. And being forgotten after death, and worse of being forgotten before death. 

I realised at the time that these were dark thoughts and not healthy. I did try to change my thoughts, but the darkness kept coming back. So I didn’t sleep at all well that night. What’s worse is that those thoughts keep coming back.

These have been some of the darkest thoughts I’ve been plagued with since the suicidal phase. I don’t like it, I have no idea what triggered it and I want to avoid it. I’m doing my best not to let my mind go there, but it’s harder than it sounds.  Still it’s a journey back to health it will take time and I though I struggled to change the thinking that night, I know that by recognising the problem, that’s the first step to overcoming it. Yes I struggled that time, but next time I’ll have more success, then more the time after and so on until I break the downward spiral. 

Get there step by step. On nightmare at a time.

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After a really bad night sleep wise, and a week where I’ve barely left the house, my hubby got me up and out for a walk today.  It was lovely we went down to the nearby estuary for a wander. The sun was out, the tide was out and so were we.  There were a few others out and about too, noticed it was only the groups of all men who gave no quarter for social distancing, but that’s not a surprise.

Anyway, we walked. It was nice.

I came back and tried to do a bit of writing.  Did a bit, but bugger all, and I could barely keep my eyes open. Eventually, around half 2, I had to give in, and go to the sofa for a nap. 

The thing about day-time naps is that they don’t do me any good.  I know load of people who are advocates of the power nap, but they don’t’ do it for me. All naps do for me is mean that I wake up with a fuzzy head and can’t sleep the following night.  But I had to give in, and was pretty much out like a light and gone for an hour. 

Since then I’ve had a fuzzy head.

Hubby is on a night shift, so I’ve decamped to the bedroom, where there is no possibility of being distracted by the TV (I won’t have one in the bedroom), and I’m trying to write.  It’s working too, because in the hour and a half I’ve been up here, I’ve written nearly two thousand words.  Hope to get at least a few more hundred done before I settle down for the night.

So that’s me for the day.  Hope you had a successful day too.

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Full On

It’s been a full on day. 

A solid 8 hours of the day job, that rather frazzled the brain.  Thankfully the commute home now consists of standing up and three steps.

So since finishing work, I’ve changed beds, sorted the shopping and done two loads, four to finish tomorrow. I’ve cleaned out and rearranged the fridge, and cooked a big dinner. And I’ve managed to squeeze some reading in – a chapter of “The Invisible Man”.

The best news of the day has been that I got a call from the psychiatrists office today.  They confirmed that I am on the list to be seen, but they can’t do the meetings until lockdown is lifted because it’s a face to face thing. But after so long, I am glad to finally have confirmation that I’m on the list.  Again there was a pushing for taking medication, but my experience with medication has not been good, it really did zombify me, but didn’t actually help. 

Still, it’s a step forward, and that’s good.

Now I’m shattered.

So, a good day, successful and productive.  But an early night tonight as I want to get some writing done tomorrow.

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With the curtains up in the conservatory, and my back playing up, I’ve been working back down in the conservatory.  It’s been much better, I get the support of a decent desk and deskchair, and with the curtains taking the edge of the direct sunlight, it’s workable.  What this means is that I don’t finish work with either a headache from too much sun or a backache from sitting on a sofabed all day. 

I knew it would take a while to get things set up as I wanted.

The console table I had trouble with is now behind the sofa, holding my personal laptop (I’m working off the works laptop in the day). This now means that I have a working area that I can walk away from at the end of the day and then I’ve got somewhere safer for my personal laptop, instead of slipping it under the sofa.

It also means that the boxes of my books that have been behind the sofa have now been tidied up and put under the consol.  This means they are away from the radiator – not that warmth has been an issue. And that we have easier access to the CD rack and the bottom of the bookcase that end of the room. 

Still have to place my laptop over the scratch though!

But it’s working out, I’m getting comfortable, and that matters.

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A few days ago we put two bird feeders up in the garden, a seed feeder in the tree and a peanut holder on a hook off the shed. We’ve been keeping an eye out for usage, and nothing, but today, it’s been like Springwatch out there.

There were loads of sparrows coming back and forth, digging into the seed feeder. Something falling to the grass with every peck. Then the Magpies were in pecking at the fallen seeds.

The only thing I haven’t seen is any of them going on the peanut feeder.  I am wondering if that’s in the wrong place. The corner it’s on means that it’s in the sun most of the day, and that might be putting the birds off. I really don’t know if that’s likely to affect the birds use of it or not.

Yesterday, started with me having to separate my cat and Ginge from fighting in the garden. Later on, I hear to lots of magpie noise and looked out to see my cat cowering by the fence, ears back staring up the garden.  When I looked that way, I saw the back of one of the neighbourhood black cats being attacked by a magpie. I just got up to open the door when the magpie flew off, the cat bolted over the back fence, just as the other neighbour’s door hit the fence and started barking.  Not surprisingly the cat ran in.

This afternoon, it started raining hard, so all wildlife has disappeared, and we’re more Autumnwatch than Springwatch.

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Small Victories

I have achieved today.

Now there’s a thing I don’t say often enough.

The wonderful organisers of Virtual Noir at the Bar have asked me to do a spot on July 8th. They’re offering 10 mins of reading from my next-to-be-published book.  That’s scary.  I’ve known about the event for a weeks.  When first offered, I chatted to Vic, the host, and she was wonderfully understanding because the offer came just after my depression hit. I haven’t been sure I was ready for it, so I’ve been putting off finding the right passage. 

Picking such a section is harder than you might think.  There are a number of ways to approach the selection.  The ones I look for are the hook or illustration of either main character, or main theme.

The book is split between two locations, and two sets of characters, which makes selecting one character to focus on difficult. This is also a standalone book, unlike anything I’ve produced before so I wasn’t sure who to pick.

The hook is good, but if I start at the start and read for 10 minutes, it stops partway through the introduction of two characters I love. 

The theme is about the revelation of identity. Who the characters really are.  I’ve got an absolutely wonderful scene in which two characters are revealed for who they really are, but that reveals too much of the overall plot. 

I felt lost for a direction.

So I returned to the start, there’s a scene in that’s important when you read the book needs to be there, but I’m promoting the book, so I took a chunk out, read it out loud and it’s down to 9 minutes.  That’s perfect. 

This means that, rather than dreading it, I am finally looking forward to the night.

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As mentioned in previous blogs, I decided to make curtains for the conservatory. I ordered curtain lining  off the internet, and it arrived last week.

Knowing that this wasn’t going to be the most difficult make ever, I wanted to give one full day to it, when I could make the most of natural daylight.  Today was that day.  I got the first curtain made okay, then tried to start with the second and the machine wouldn’t sew properly.

The machine made a grinding sounds, the material wouldn’t pull through and it simply didn’t work. I tried to lift the material away and couldn’t because there were too many loops of thread holding it down.  Of course I cut them cleaned it out and tried again. 

Same thing.

Cleared the threads, checked it all over, all looked fine.  Tried again.

Same thing.

After the fourth attempt, I decided to do a fuller sweep. I cleared al the threads, but then one wouldn’t come out. So, I had to unscrew the footplate, get a brush to clear out the accumulated dust and try and figure out what was causing the jam. It seems it was that last thread that was causing the problem. I got it got, finished the clean-up, reinstated the footplate, and tried again – Success!

After an hour of the most basic machine maintenance, I actually got it running again.  More importantly I finished the curtains.

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Working from home is the dream for lots of people, certainly for me, but only because I want to be a full-time writer.  However, as many are discovering during this pandemic, working from home isn’t as easy you think.

Honestly, I prefer it, but have one issue – I haven’t worked out the best place to work yet. 

I tried the conservatory because that’s where I write, where my desk is. Most of my writing is done of an afternoon/evening, when I start work at 8am, the sun flows directly in. That sounds great, but means it’s too bright and I got a lot of headaches working there all day. I also found that the work-work impression now on the place has hampered my creativity, which isn’t good.

This week I’ve been working in the spare bedroom, but too small for a proper desk, so I’ve been using two overchair/laptop tables, as they are single-leg support they aren’t the safest for computer equipment – they wobble! Also, it means sitting on a bed.  I have a bad back and trust me, that’s not comfortable for all day working.

So, I’ve brought a console table for laptop and monitor and I’m going to rearrange the cushions to see if I can make it more comfortable. 

Hubby suggested I work in the campervan, after all it has an electrical supply and privicy, only that’s our leisure space. I love writing in the van, I don’t want to ‘infect’ it with the day job. 

This weekend I’m going to try making curtains for the conservatory, that may allow me to work in there again, then I can write in the living room without headaches or backache of an evening. 

I will find a working location, it may just take a few attempts.

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