helen-louise
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Last night I went out for curry and ice cream in a clean t-shirt. And then proceeded not to spill any of it over myself. Who am I, and what have I done with h-l?!

The evening also featured a visiting brooksmoses. It was lovely to see him, just as it was to see epi_lj and clawfoot in May. If any more friends from the other side of the Pond have a burning urge to visit London, do come and see me :) I am under the impression that there is some big science fiction convention going on in a few weeks, so if any of you are coming over for that, do let me know...

I have been trying to sleep since 6.30 am and it is now 10.30 am. Conclusion: My sleep patterns are fubared. And yes, I meant "fubar" and not "fiber", thank you spillchucker. I have Plans for seeking medical attention, but it occurs to me that I shouldn't go running to my GP flailing about the state of my brain before I've done everything I agreed to do/have checked out from my last visit. So I have to go and see - or at least arrange appointments with - some other medical professionals first. Waah.

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Current Mood: blah blah

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I really Do Not Like how I'm feeling at the moment. It's 8.24 am and I haven't managed to sleep yet, even though I quit my game before 5 am and lay down in the almost-dark for almost an hour before giving up and reading on my phone again. I feel so desperate and frustrated, and my moods are all over the place.

The conclusion I have come to is that I've never regained the same level of mood control that I had before going on pregabalin and then gabapentin, which are both anticonvulsants which affect mood, used for relief of pain caused by neurological issues. I thought that stopping the gabapentin would be enough to make my carbamazepine go back to smoothing things out, but it's been 6 months and I still don't feel as though I'm getting adequate mood control. (Also, my back needs another set of injections, which is another story in itself.)

Right now I feel in a "glorious" mixed state of depression and hypomania, with all sorts of negative self-hatred/self-harming desires going through my mind, as well as anger and tearfulness, and too many thoughts. In some respects I feel as though I have loads of energy, except I don't really. Loads of thoughts and ideas, but no actual energy or concentration span to start writing any of them down. I keep playing Elder Scrolls Online because it's the only damned thing I can concentrate on, and it's absorbing enough that I don't have to worry about anything else while I play it. I have a horrible feeling I'm using it to self-medicate because of how shitty I feel when I'm playing and there's no one else I care about on to talk to.

I need to go and see my doctor. It's difficult to explain how bad I'm feeling when I can fake normal so well. I keep thinking "I hate my life", except I don't, really. My life is pretty awesome in so many ways. What I hate is my brain, for not managing its own neurotransmitters properly.

Don't want advice, don't want sympathy, only empathy from people who have some idea what this feels like. Stupid brains!

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Current Mood: indescribable indescribable

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I am Not Dead, I'm just dealing with very low energy. As in: I had a Livejournal post all planned in my head, but after chatting on irc for 20 minutes I've lost the ability to write it. All I've been doing since coming back from Sonisphere is sleeping and playing Elder Scrolls Online, because that fulfils most of my urge for companionship without actually exhausting me the way conversation seems to.

I "need" to write up both Download and Sonisphere, because we saw lots of bands we've never heard of before and quite liked, and I want to remember who they were so I can check them out again. I also want to post some of the photos from my birthday trip to Whipsnade. And then I need to get back into my College work, since I have a mountain of stuff to do over the summer. Argh *flail*.

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Current Mood: drained drained

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Joy! Our kitchen ring main has died. I was heating up hot chocolate and heard a fizzling sound, and the microwave stopped working. So did everything else that runs off that ring main.

Like a Sensible Person Who Understands Electricity, I went to the fuse box. Where I found that the kitchen ring main fuse had not tripped. I flicked it to off anyway, waited a few seconds and back to on, but there is still no electricity to the kitchen. Richard reckons it might need a new circuit breaker.

Even better: the fridge/freezer is plugged in somewhere behind itself, and it's too damned heavy for me to move. So I can't actually unplug it and move it onto the downstairs ring main until Richard gets home from work.

Also, I am having TMICollapse )

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Current Mood: grumpy grumpy

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I overheard the most thought-provoking conversation today. This woman went up to a man who was working behind one of the market stalls in Camden Market and asked him if he was from some specific part of Nigeria.

He said "Yes, I'm from [place]."

She said "I knew as soon as I saw you that you were my brother! I'm from [other place nearby]." (The only reason I know that these places are in Nigeria, or indeed near each other, is because the woman explained it to her friend. I think she said they were ten miles apart.)

He said "That's so amazing!"

She said "Isn't it? I'm going to phone my mum to tell her."

He said "Yeah, I should do the same."

And she pulled out her phone to call her mum right away, and as soon as he'd finished serving customers, he called a family member too.

I just don't know how she recognised him as being from that very specific part of Nigeria though. It wasn't accent, because they both had broad London accents. I've been thinking about it ever since, how bad people are at recognising ethnicities beyond broad definitions like "black", "South Asian", "East Asian", "South American". I recognise the difference between north Africans, west Africans, South Africans, Somalis (they look like Mo Farah!), and people from certain parts of the Caribbean, but that's as far as I could get. And I suspect that's better than a lot of people who aren't themselves black.

The sad thing is, I could have a reasonable stab at identifying the origins of white Europeans - but that's based on things like clothing style as well as just physical appearance. So it is obviously possible even within people who look broadly similar. Is it cultural indoctrination of a sort, recognising people who are "like us"? Probably. It's probably related to whatever it is in childhood development that makes a baby of a certain age know how to recognise an animal as a "dog", even considering how many different and strange shapes of dog there are. (Don't get me started on some of the crazier specifications of pedigree dog breeds. Just don't.)

But how can a person who is interested learn as an adult how to recognise people's ancestry as belonging to a specific ethnic origin? Not because you're prejudiced - I'm inclined to think that a prejudiced person would simply label them all as "foreign" and not bother learning the nuances - but because people are fundamentally fascinating and you live in a huge city with people of every conceivable background. I suppose that's something taught in anthropology, but it's not as if you get to measure the bones and calculate the ratios of the measurements when you pass random people in the street! Hrm.

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Current Mood: curious curious

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I'm back! Although you could be forgiven for not knowing that I'd gone anywhere, since I didn't post about it due to a complete lack of spoons.

Richard and I went to the Download Festival and slept in a tent for four nights. There was much music and not much sleep - partly due to the loud music, but mostly due to the last flight out of East Midlands Airport being about 1.30 am. I actually managed to sleep through a whole load of loud music on Sunday morning due to being absolutely collapsed with chronic fatigue, but I couldn't get to sleep all the time there were aeroplanes going overhead.

I need to write up all of the bands we saw. Actually, I still need to write up Sunday of last year's Download, and some of 2012's Sonisphere (!) because I like to have a record of bands I've seen and what I thought of them. However, right now I am too knackered and too busy. I have to give a presentation about my work at the Graduate Symposium next Thursday (26th), and I didn't manage to get it written before I went away. Right now I'm not even sure if I'll get to celebrate my birthday this weekend because I might need that time for Powerpoint wrangling (urgh!).

I am so freaking tired. If you've never had an illness which left you with severe fatigue, imagine the worst flu you've ever had, and the exhaustion, brain fog, and all-over aching from that. I sorta want to fall over dead for a few days and not have to worry about anything - except I can't because I've got Things to Do.

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Current Mood: exhausted exhausted

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I really shouldn't laugh at people whose English is a damn sight better than my Mandarin or Cantonese, but there's something endearingly hilarious about this sign for "herbal Viagra" as seen in a Chinese Traditional Medicine shop:

Make your another half more happier.

For one thing, it's unintentionally poly...

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Current Location: United Kingdom, London, Hampstead Rd, 24 bus
Current Mood: amused amused

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Richard and I just did the quiz at http://uk.isidewith.com to find out who we should vote for.

Huge image!Collapse )
That image is crap though because it only shows the top 5, whereas I think my 53% for the Conservatives, 21% for UKIP and 3% for the BNP (!) are important :) Honestly, I'm amazed that I have as much as 3% in common with the BNP... Apparently I agree with them about nuclear energy and tracking.

Don't forget to vote!

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Current Mood: amused amused

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I have been LICKED ALL OVER by an off-duty Guide Dog.

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Current Location: on a southbound 168
Current Mood: okay okay

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Today I have period pain and it's bad, so I am whining.

I also have knee pain and wrist pain because Richard is in Canada again and I'm having to do a lot more for myself. My wrist support makes the inside of my wrist itch, but my wrist is agony without it. So I've had to cover the inside of my wrist with an antibacterial cream, then attempt to put a dressing over it, then attempt to wrap a wrist support around, all one-handed. Also the first-aid supplies in this house need replacing, and "sensitive" latex-free plasters barely stick at the best of times - let alone over cream and when they are a couple of years old!

I hurt so much and I am valiantly struggling to do work, despite the pain and despite my mother talking to me even when she can see there are spectra on the screen and a notebook in front of me, but I might have to give up soon because this is just ridiculous.

Also I need to type a long post requesting help for a friend, but that isn't going to happen with my wrist in this state.

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Current Mood: sore sore

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Check out the "word" of the day at Passive Aggressive Notes!

(Or if you're not reading it on 5th April, see the screenshot instead).

Context.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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I'm feeling less awful than I was a couple of weeks ago. I've got my exhaustion under control now, I think. But I ran out of one of my antidepressants over the weekend and had to ration it, and am now back to depression with no concentration span. Argh.

Here's some links I've been wanting to post:

Buzzfeed: 15 Comics For Anyone Struggling To Explain What It Means To Be Queer. I'm going to post about webcomics in general when I get around to it. (Please don't post me circular-shaped pieces of card labelled "Round Tuit", it won't actually help even if it's funny).

Milkshakes - adorable women loving women comic from Tumblr. Click on the first picture to get it to zoom, then use the arrow keys to read consecutive pages.

Buzzfeed: 17 London Underground Maps You Never Knew You Needed. Yes, I know I'm a big dork, but these are amazing. Especially the Daily Mail Tube Map.

Female Armor Bingo. For feminist gamers.

BBC News: Rainfall. Pictures from around the world.

BBC News: Pandas on Tour. A single photo of more papier mache pandas than you're likely to see in one place at once.

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Current Mood: okay okay

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Does anyone I know have about 2 metres of 1.5 mm black waxed cotton cord that I could buy or have? Alternatively, if I had to go ahead and buy a 20 metre reel, is there anyone who could make use of the remaining 18 metres?

I have one pendant to string, and I loathe clasps (they are too fiddly for me), so I want to string it the same way my ankh is strung. It's incredibly clever - there are two fixed knots which slide along the waxed cotton to increase or decrease the size of the necklace.

I'm not going to get into jewellery making because time/energy/fingers, so it seems incredibly wasteful to buy a 20 metre reel which will just sit around on a shelf somewhere.

Current Mood: curious curious

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I wish my husband would stop setting his alarm for 9.30am when he has been up working until 4am & has no intention of leaving for work until 11.30 at the earliest. All it does is wake me up, & enough that I can't readily fall back to sleep. If you wake my belly up, then you wake the rest of me as well. My belly is busy shouting "HUNGRY!" at me & I am trying to placate it with ginger nuts & chocolate milk, but I feel awful from lack of sleep.

Oh yes. And then he has the nerve to snore at me! ARRGH!

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Current Location: In my bed
Current Mood: irritated irritated

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I haven't been feeling very successful in my life lately. I came back from Canada and collapsed in a heap of exhaustion and/or depression. No idea which. Possibly both. The thing is, I have an overwhelming feeling that it's depression due to physical health problems rather than my mental health screwing up.

I didn't mention this earlier, but I had my thyroxine dose increased just before I went away. My TSH level was 4.something (I wrote it down, but I've no idea where I put the piece of paper - 4.7, perhaps?). It was high enough to be in the range where even the NHS would advise another test in 6 months if I wasn't already on thyroxine. In this situation it was a clear indicator that my thyroxine dose wasn't high enough any more. Still, I was only on 25 mg, which is nothing.

I have a feeling that when my thyroid is working less awfully, I will feel better in all sorts of ways. Not sleeping for more than 12 hours a day would be nice. I've had a few days where I've slept for 10 hours, woken up, eaten something and taken meds, and then gone back to sleep for another 6 hours. I've had a few more days where I've slept for 4 hours and then woken up wide awake and been entirely unable to get back to sleep.

I have done NOTHING with regards to College work. I have done NO WRITING for pleasure since 6th January, except that today I managed to produce 900 words, of which about 700 are good. I owe BiCon an Access Report and am actually rather grateful that Jennifer has been on my back about it, because it shows that the BiCon team takes access seriously.

I haven't read any books in weeks. I've read some fanfiction online, and also some short fiction by Sarah Monette, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. And also this by Elizabeth Bear (which made me cry my eyes out) and this by Marissa Lingen, courtesy of elisem who makes necklaces which people write about.

About all I've done constructively lately is play Animal Crossing: New Leaf. And, this weekend, I took part in the beta of The Elder Scrolls: Online, which was actually about 100 x more fun than it should have been considering it's (a) an MMO with a monthly fee and (b) messing up some of the established Lore of the universe. Today I did a small amount of posting of information to the UESP wiki. But in general, life has been relentlessly awful and exhausting, even though nothing much has happened.

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Current Mood: indescribable indescribable

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I forgot it was half-term, and now I'm on the train next to a ridiculously high-pitched shrieking small child. It's making no attempt to moderate its volume or pitch, and all its attached adult is doing is telling it off and sighing, rather than explaining how to behave :/
I'd move if I could, but I can't because the aisles aren't wide enough.

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Current Location: United Kingdom, null, London, Prested Rd

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Safely home. Got in yesterday morning and went to bed for 6 hours, then Tim & Peter came round to take me out for dinner, then I went back to bed and slept for another 12 hours. I would now be feeling like a human being if my mother hadn't spent the whole day driving me insane.

Today I had a great Need To Be Alone. While I'm usually pretty extroverted, travel knocks me out and afterwards, I just want to be on my own while I recover. It's at least, in part, a chronic fatigue thing - having to deal with other people and take in unnecessary aural input exhausts me sometimes. But she decided to spend the whole day here, trying to organise our damned house before Richard gets home, and failing to take hints. I don't know how much more explicit I needed to be, since "I would like to be left alone, please" wasn't good enough.

To me, being "left alone" means being alone in my house.

To her, it means that she stays downstairs most of the time and only comes up to bother me once or twice an hour :/ I guess I should have said "Please will you go home", but I only just thought of it :/

So she decided I was being ungrateful for her help, when it was her simple PRESENCE that was annoying me. I've been getting progressively more-and-more bad-tempered, and only calmed down in the hour and a half since she left. And I haven't got anything done all day, because I needed alone-time in order to summon up the requisite attention span to do what I wanted.

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Current Mood: irritated irritated

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My flight is already delayed for half an hour. Oddly, they claim this will make no difference to the arrival time. At least modern airports have free WiFi so I'm not chewing my own arm off with boredom like I was in Detroit airport in 2000 (the worst 4 hours of my life, which is impressive considering I've been in hospital in so much pain they gave me morphine a few times).

There was a Second Cup just through security, so I have safe-for-me hot chocolate now & my life has dramatically improved.

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Current Location: Trudeau Airport, Montreal
Current Mood: bored bored

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I am Not Happy. Everything's fucked up and Richard has to stay here until Wednesday night (coming back on Thursday morning). But I have to go home because I'm out of meds and have to be back at College.

And doing an 8 hour flight alone is just Not Fun, even without disability issues.

I am supposed to be finding somewhere fancy and expensive to go to for dinner, but I don't even feel like eating.

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Current Mood: miserable

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Today I am feeling depressed and panicky. The problem with sleeping in hotel rooms is the damned air conditioning. Firstly, it's impossible to control the temperature of the room the way we'd do it at home by throwing open a window, since the windows are sealed. The hotel room defaults to 22 deg C, which is too hot for comfortable sleeping - especially with the two duvets they've given us! I prefer the room somewhere around 17-18 deg C while I'm trying to fall asleep.

Secondly, a single heavy duvet (we removed the second one because it was ridiculous) is improper temperature control for me. At home, I sleep with a thin duvet and a selection of thin blankets, which I throw onto or off the bed depending on my body temperature. It is entirely normal for me to go to sleep in pyjamas and socks under four layers of bedding, and wake up half-naked under two. Here, with one big duvet, I only have the choice of "clothes on" or "clothes off", which is not enough gradation.

Thirdly, the air is too dry. So I have trouble getting to sleep in the first place because my mouth is too dry (three or four of my medications all have 'dry mouth' as a side-effect), leading to a cycle of drinking water and needing to pee which goes on for a while before sleep occurs. Then while I'm asleep my nose swells up inside, and I end up breathing through my mouth, which leads to bizarre, usually horrible dreams. I have a lot of nightmares anyway, but there's nothing quite like waking up having a full-blown anxiety attack simply because of not breaking properly. Blargh.

Saline spray is wonderful, but it only works to rehydrate my nose when I'm awake enough to do the spraying. In cheap hotels, you can lay wet towels across the air conditioner, and that helps to keep the air moist, but this is a fancy-ass hotel and the air conditioning is a vent high on the wall. I remember the time I shared a room at an alt.polycon - can't remember which one - with Cally Soukup, who brought a portable humidifier to combat the air conditioning, and it was the Best Thing Ever. I wonder how she's doing? She was one of my few alt.poly friends who didn't make it over to livejournal. Say hi to her from me if you see her at a convention.

Whine whine whine.

Apart from hotel air conditioning, Montréal continues to be amazing. If papersky ever invites you to the Jean-Talon Market, and you have any interest whatsoever in food, then go. Apparently it is only a quarter of its summer size right now, since the weather means that only the indoor parts were open, but we found vegan-friendly Turkish delight, and sorbet that tasted just like the fruit it was made from, and a tea shop with some very interesting blends. I could have bought many things there, since they had at least six varieties of white tea, which is my favourite, but settled for the Peach Blossom blend which smelled the best.

I had a buckwheat crêpe which was vegan, but rather boring since the stall owner only had butter as a possible fat to fry it in, so it was extremely dry. I should have opted for an apple crêpe with maple syrup, or cinnamon, sugar and lemon, rather than getting excited by the one labelled as "végétalienne". Well, you live and learn.

There was also an entire shop of sheep butter, cheese, lanolin, yarn etc (which nitoda would love); a chocolate shop whose dark chocolate was dairy-free; a spice shop which had more dried chillis than I've ever seen together in one place, as well as an insanely large collection of different types of peppercorn; an organic hippy nonsense shop with vegan chocolate chip cookies (and vegan onion crackers?!); a great deal of charcuterie and seafood; and fruit and vegetables sold by the actual farmers who produce it. That's something which is entirely missing from my most local market in Kingston-upon-Thames: traceability. Anonymous stalls sell barely-fresh fruit and vegetables which could be from anywhere in the world. At least when I go to the supermarket, everything British-produced has a label on to tell me the name and location of the farm it came from.

I have been jealous of mongoose_bite's tales of his local farmers' market for some months now, but having experienced a market like that in person, I now really need to find something like it in or near London. There must be one.

Might go out shopping for clothes or books later if I can face moving. A lot of shops here are oddly open until 9pm Monday to Friday, but only until 5 or 6pm on Saturdays (and Sundays). I understand closing early on Sundays, but it seems odd to be open until 9pm on slow nights like Monday and Tuesday, and then closing so early on a Saturday. It's not how central London works, anyway. I was wondering if it was because a lot of Catholics go to church on Saturday night ("to get it out the way") instead of Sunday morning, but I'm not sure how religious the city still is, despite all the churches around the place.

I've seen a couple of shops which claim to be for "sizes 14+", Addition-Elle and another one I've forgotten the name of which looked like mostly office wear. I wonder if either of them have jeans I can wear? Torrid in the US is great for finding me jeans, but they don't have branches here.

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Current Location: 260 rue St-Antoine Ouest, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Current Mood: depressed depressed

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helen-louise
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