Katje and the Complete Lack of Executive Function

I did say I’d get that Gwyn ap Nudd piece up this week, didn’t I?

Well, I wasn’t lying, but apparently my brain has had other ideas. I’ve completely lacked in executive function this week. Or more accurately, I have been plagued by executive dysfunction.

What does that mean?

Executive dysfunction is often dubbed “laziness” by people who don’t understand it, but it’s not laziness at all. I have executive dysfunction *and* I can be a very lazy person, so I know how to tell the difference. (Though often my brain likes to berate me for my laziness even when I know full well it’s executive dysfunction — because ill brains like to attack themselves. It is known.)

Laziness is “I should get up and clean the living room, but I don’t want to, so I’m going to watch Doctor Who instead and enjoy it.”

Executive dysfunction is “I really want to get the living room clean, and finish that blog post, and work on my novel, and do some publishing work, and do a load of laundry so I can have clean clothing, but I can’t. I’m sitting here unable to even get up to think about those things. I’m telling myself to get up, but I can’t. So I’ve put on Doctor Who but I’m not even really watching it; I’m staring at the TV screen and wondering why I’m so fucking broken.”

I have been in both these places. The second one is what I’m stuck in right now. I have been *trying* to force myself to get things done, to work past the executive dysfunction, and mostly I have been failing. I’ve also been trying to not be hard on myself, but the truth is that a lot of my responsibilities don’t really give a shit if my broken brain is acting up and making it near-impossible to get done the things I need to get done — they still need to get done and I’m the one who has to do them. So not beating myself up over it is easier said than done.

Even on good days I struggle with executive dysfunction. The stuff you see from me in public? The posts of chapters to Wattpad, updates on my Patreon, my weekly newsletters? Those things take inordinate amounts of energy even during good phases. (Not even getting into the stuff you *don’t* see from me in public. So much background work goes into indie author life.) This is not a good phase.

Honestly I don’t know how I’m writing this post right now. I managed to make myself sit down and start it, and I’m not going to get up until it’s done, because otherwise? It will languish on my hard drive for the rest of time. And I should post it, so you know what’s happened to Mythology Mondays.

They’re not on hiatus. I’m working on Gwyn’s post. It just might be…a week later than its first postponement. Gods, I hope. I hope I can get it up by Monday.

So, let’s say Monday the 23rd, Gwyn ap Nudd, then back to the every other Monday schedule, which puts Borvo on August 6th. Let’s say it, and then maybe it’ll make itself true!

It’s 5 am, so I’m going to go to sleep now, and hopefully tomorrow I will get more than a grand total of 2 things done.

Loonily,
Katje of the Broken Brain

What even is blogging?

Obviously, I have no idea.

My last post here was Valentine’s Day. That’s ridiculous. Granted, this time I actually have an excuse: school did kind of eat my face.

It was all worth it, though! Check out these puppies:

A screenshot of final grades results from Winter Semester of courses at Douglas College. All A+s.

If you can’t see the image, it’s a list of all the classes I took and my final grade in each of them. A+ across the board. I SLAYED this semester. I AM THE LIZARD KING

And then I slept for the past three weeks, basically. I have really just been sleeping for most of this entire time. Sleeping and watching movies with my husband because we now have access to a bunch of movies on demand.

Now I’m arising from my sleep like a leviathan from the depths of the ocean and looking at summer like the tasty morsel it is. It’s time to get some shit done. I need to get my tits up and ACCOMPLISH STUFF.

A photo of a post-it note on a wall. The note reads "GET YOUR TITS UP," which is a quote from BAD MOMS.
This is an actual photo of the wall above my desk. It’s super motivating.

(Side note, if you haven’t seen Bad Moms, it is a really funny film and I highly recommend it.)

Things I want to accomplish this summer include:

◆ Clean my freaking house so I actually have a place to do homework come Fall.
◆ Finish all my current WIPs and hopefully another book. (What am I CRAZY?)
◆ Read a LOT.
Give my mom a really excellent 70th birthday. It’s a BIG ONE!
◆ Have a nice birthday myself.
◆ Cuddle Lord Tyee the wundermutt.
◆ Get ahead in my Medical Terminology book in preparation for next semester. (halp)
◆ Be more active here and at my other blogs. Mostly here, though. And, like…with a purpose.

Honestly, no idea if I’ll accomplish all this stuff, but I’m hopeful. At any rate, the last one I’m going to be starting with next week. I’m going to try to actually blog here on a regular basis, on actual topics that I know a little about. I hope that these posts I’m going to write are helpful and informative and entertaining for you all.

There, of course, will still be the regular “omg what am I even doing with my life” type posts, but hopefully those won’t be the ONLY thing that happens because they tend to happen once every few months. I’d like blogging here to be a weekly thing, eventually. However, it might start out as every other week, until I can get more into the habit.

Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print DEAR GODS I HAVE TO STOP USING THAT PHRASE, TALK ABOUT DATING MYSELF.

*cough*

I’m going to sign off now, and work on some more writing. As a reminder, if you want to be first to know when From the Ashes is done, sign up for Loony Nation. If you want to be second to know, join my Patreon. If you want to be third to know, join my reader’s group on Facebook. And if you just want to find out with the rest of the world, just…keep doing what you’re doing, I guess? I mean you’re reading this post, so I assume you’re following me online somewhere.

See you all next week! Have a great weekend, and happy mother’s day. Unless mother’s day is a shitty day for you, in which case I’m sorry for reminding you about it. *offers hugs and cookies*

~Katje

Annnnnnd it’s gone

My last post here looks utterly hilarious in retrospect.

Last week I got a notification from Student Loans that — after I had spent many hours of my time doing my application and filling out the paperwork that would let them send me money, and started preparing my appeal for the full amount of money — I was no longer eligible for loans and wouldn’t be getting any.

Ever.

Ok, not ever; I have a flair for the dramatic. BUT not until my principal of 50K is paid down, which fuck me, may as well be ever.

There is a bright side to this news — the reason I’m no longer eligible to receive funding is because my RAP (Repayment Assistance Plan) has gone into Stage 2. What does Stage 2 mean? It means the government has started paying off my interest AND principal at about half the rate I would be expected to pay it off if I actually made any money.

However, this long-run bright side is hard to see with such BLOODY SHITTY TIMING.

Couldn’t they have like, I don’t know, messaged me a year ago and said “Hey in a year your RAP will go into Stage 2, here’s what that means, just a heads up”? Would have meant I would have gotten off my ass sooner and gone back to school, which would have meant at least ONE semester funded, and preparation for the lack of funding for the rest.

Instead, nope, middle of first semester, NO warning: “Oh by the way? That $1,300 you were really counting on to pay March/April rent? HAHAH NO.”

Needless to say I’ve been in a bit of a depressive episode since Thursday. That day actually saw me sobbing on a bench at campus, which was…totally fun and not at all embarrassing. And now Mom, Mr. Katje, and I are struggling to find a way to come up with the money to survive this semester.

I’m visiting Mom right now and we’re going to have a small private party-slash-fundraising thing here, which should help, and she’ll also be doing a Scholarship Sale at her bookshop Tea & Talk. I’ve also put together a note on FB detailing ways to help — it’s public for now, so you should be able to see it.

I’m also trying to get paid hours in as much as I can, even though that’s almost impossible with school. Most of my time these days is spent studying or working on homework, and when I’m not doing that, I’m in class, and when I’m not doing THAT I’m cleaning the house or sleeping. Study Break was MUCH NEEDED this week, and my trip to PR to see my mom has already resulted in many naps.

Anyway, that’s the State of the Katje. I haven’t let it break my streak of writing every day this year, though. Still going strong on that.

Will see you all again soon, if I can figure out something to talk about.

Loonily yours,

Katje

Healing Hurts

Physio hurts.

Drove out to Coquitlam tonight for my physio appointment. Driving there was difficult; I was having high anxiety, as I have since last Sunday when I learned of the deaths of two people I cared about. Late last week I had to force myself to leave the house so I could get over that huge hump of anxiety; it’s lower than it was, but still difficult to deal with.

Physio itself hurts like hell. I have to do exercises to build up certain muscles that have sat dormant in my crippledness for years. The muscles scream in anger and rebellion at me. And the physiotherapist — who is awesome! — has to push and prod at me to get my spinal muscles to ease up, and to ease my spine back towards normalcy.

And it hurts like hell.

Don’t even get me started on the squats I need to do and what they do to my knees.

At the end, all that back and neck work triggers a small migraine, so I drive home drinking a coffee from McDonalds after taking an extra-strength Tylenol to banish the migraine to the depths of hell from whence it came.

Home, I still hurt all over, and I have more to do before I can go to bed tonight.

This healing thing isn’t for cowards. I am one, but I’m trying really hard not to be.

The Love You Give Is Enough

Yesterday I ran a lot into something that’s physically painful for me to see: clappy hand emojis between words. It’s an internet trend to make what are considered important points this way, instead of the old-fashioned placing of a period between each word. (What. was. wrong. with. that?)

You’re probably wondering why/how it makes me sick. The best explanation I can come up with is that my visual processor is over-developed and hyper-competent after a lifetime of having to make up for my auditory disabilities — my hearing is fine, my brain has problems processing and parsing sounds — and so when I read things, I experience them more vividly than people without that disability do.

My lack of ability to properly parse things I hear means my visual processor makes up for it by making me hear things mentally really well when I read them. This is why shitty punctuation in a book drives me insane. I can’t just skim over it when reading; it’s integrally a part of what I’m experiencing. It tells me how to “hear” things in my mind, and if it’s wrong, it will fuck up my entire experience.

(This is also why I loathe the practice of 2 spaces after a period. It makes my brain grind to a halt when I’m reading something, because one space is a normal pause between sentences for me. Two spaces is the emergency brake.)

My experience seeing the clappy hand emojis between words is to feel as if I’m being slapped or punched in the face after every word. Reading a sentence written that way gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.

And to be honest, even if it didn’t cause me physical pain, I would find it the most annoying fucking thing on the planet. So either way, I’d be stoked if people could fucking stop doing it.

Anyway. Yesterday I saw like, 3 or 4 tweets using this method so I spent most of the day feeling headachey and sick to my stomach. One of them, however, is what inspired this post.

This was from an account I used to enjoy following, and from someone I thought was pretty cool. Not only did they use the clappy hands emoji thing that makes me sick, but they used it to repeat a really damaging belief: “you can’t love somebody until you love yourself.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what the tweet said exactly; I just went and double-checked as fast as I could before getting too sick. Am super nauseated right now anyway.)

This is a bullshit idea and I am so sick of hearing it repeated.

An image of two people kissing is overlaid with text that says "You can't love someone unless you love yourself; You can't be happy with someone else if you aren't happy with yourself." Over top this text is a big red X, and the words FUCK OFF in bold black Impact font on a pink rectangle background.
I have strong feelings about this.

Working on self-love is, of course, important, and something I encourage EVERYONE to do. But the phrasing of this idea, the way it’s always put forth, makes it a zero-sum game: you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Unsaid in that sentence: your whole self. You cannot love someone until you love yourself 100%.

This idea leads to a horrible self-repeating spiral of self-hate. That sentence also says that if you DO love someone when you don’t love yourself, it’s not enough. It’s not GOOD enough. Your love for your spouse or sister or daughter or son or best friend — it’s not enough, because you don’t love yourself first.

And because your love isn’t enough — because you don’t love yourself — you are obviously not worthy of that person. And if you’re not worthy of that person, then you are, of course, not worthy of THEIR love and thus unlovable.

How the fuck are you supposed to work on self-love if you keep getting told that the love you give isn’t good enough?

I’m a broken person. I’m damaged goods. I always will be; doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I am. You can glue something back together, but those cracks will always be visible.

Most days I absolutely hate myself. But you know who I love? Mr. Katje, my husband. I love him so much I can sometimes forget what an awful person I am. I love him so much I can forget that I hate myself.

And Mr. Katje loves me, and because he loves me, he helps me work on these things. He reminds me to eat, because I can’t love myself enough to do that. He reminds me to take my pills, because sometimes I cannot take that care of myself. His reminders build up, and become my reminders: I eat because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am worth loving, so I need to love myself. I take my pills because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am not an unlovable monster, so I need to take care of myself.

Through his love of me, I am slowly, very slowly discovering self-love. It is self-love based in the love of another person.

I suppose people who believe that self-love must be entirely self-generated, a virgin birth in your heart, would see that as unhealthy.

I believe humans are pack animals and we cannot exist alone. I believe relying on oneself to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy. I believe we need each other in the same way we need food, water, shelter.

So I do not see my building up my self-love based on the love others give me as unhealthy. I see it as human.

I know Mr. Katje struggles with self-love, too. I know he has doubts; I know he has that voice inside that tells him he’s not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough for me. I know he feels he’s not a good enough husband for me, because he can’t support me like he wants to, because he’s been damaged by a lifetime of society shoving it down his throat that if he’s not earning big bucks, he’s not good enough.

(Kyriarchy damages men too.)

He is enough. He will always be enough, regardless our money situation, regardless what lies society screams at him. And if the love he gives is enough for me, then the love I give has to be enough for him.

It’s not fair to ask damaged people to put everything on hold while they try to figure out how to love themselves, and then to tell them that if they can’t figure that out, they don’t deserve to love anyone else.

It’s not fair to ask that of anyone.

Spend time cultivating self-love, as much as you can. But if you cannot get that to 100% — that’s okay. If all you can manage is 5% on a good day — that’s okay. The love you give is still worthy. The love you give is enough. The love you give is not subtracted from by the hate you feel for yourself. This is not algebra.

We may be brokenhearted, but we are enough, and whatever love we can pump out of those damaged organs is enough. It has to be, or humanity doesn’t stand a chance.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

Continue reading “Discouragement”

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

Continue reading “gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)”

Happy Canada Day from your grouchy neighbourhood cripple

I really do hope you’re having an excellent day, regardless if you celebrate Canada Day or not. It’s Saturday and that’s a nice day so have a wonderful one if you can.

As for myself, I’m grouchy and grumpy, because I’m broken. Again.

I’m up visiting my mom in Powell River and I was really hoping we could go to the special Canada Day farmers’ market today (an hour longer than usual!) and maybe hit up some celebrations elsewhere. Just, you know — go out, have fun, see people, enjoy the summer weather.

INSTEAD, I am basically kind of stuck at home. I could conceivably go out but it’d be a bad idea I think. I threw out my back this week, which when you have a spinal injury is a lot worse than just mechanical back problems. How did I throw it out? FUCK IF I KNOW.

Honestly, no idea, and it was probably nothing. I think I just moved wrong.

So now I’m in agony, though the number has gone down from a 10 on the first day to hovering at about a 5/6. (That is, according to my own scale of pain measuring, which…well, I have chronic pain, which means I basically live life at a 3 or 4 for other people. So when I say I’m at a 5/6 for me, that means an 8/9 for people who don’t have chronic pain. It’s really amazing what you can get used to when there’s no help for it.)

I have been grouchy and depressed since this happened and there has been much crying. There’s no really safe bed for me up here (mom’s mattresses are too soft, which didn’t used to bother me but now it does) so I slept in a chair last night. Sitting is painful, standing is painful, walking is painful, and I absolutely cannot lie down or I am fucked completely.

It sucks. Spinal injuries suck. There’s no two ways about it. And I’ll continue to have this life where I’m okay until suddenly, I’m not. FOR NO FUCKING REASON. Because there’s no logic to it. Backs just stop working, and especially when your discs are trying to flee the vertebrae.

We’ve been discussing options. I have somewhat of a plan; a lot of it is just nagging doctors until I get some help. First I really want to see if I can get a referral to a spinal decompression place so MSP will pay for it. They’ll be reluctant I’m sure but here’s the thing: the ~3500 for the non-invasive 8-week program of decompressing my spine that *might* give me back a good chunk of my function will actually cost them less than my other option, which is surgery.

I really don’t want surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, but we are getting to the point of “I need to fix this or I’m looking at a short, agony-filled life”. So if that means going under and getting my fucking discs taken out and my vertebra fused together, well, that’s what that means.

But yeah, I’d like to do decompression first.

So right now it’s Canada Day and instead of going out and doing something fun I am sitting at my mom’s place and praying that I’m well enough to go home by the time I was planning on it so I can go see my doctor in Vancouver and ask about getting a referral to the spinal decomp place so MSP will cover it.

And if I can’t get that….I don’t know. I have this vague thought of trying to raise the money for it somehow, but I don’t know how to do that, to be honest.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write today, because it’s Camp Nanowrimo this month, and I’d really like to make my goals even if my back is being a complete jackass about it. At least I’m better than I was two days ago; that’s something.

Wish me luck!

Loonily yours,
Katje

Father’s Day is tough for me

I really wish it weren’t. I cut my biological sire out of my life when I turned 26. That’s 5 years this August and yet certain days haven’t gotten easier for me. His birthday. Today. Any day that reminds me: I have no mortal father.

(Immortal? Well, that’s better read about at my religious blog.)

The kind of insidious thing about abuse is the grooming for it can make it almost impossible to escape, even after you’ve escaped. My brain keeps bringing up the script that I’m a Bad Daughter for not calling him on his birthday, or today, for not welcoming him back into my life, because that’s what he groomed me with my whole life. It’s hard to turn off scripts that have been running in my brain since I was young. It’s bad code and I’m still a first year programming student.

Anyway. I don’t really want to write about him today. I wanted to say that Father’s Day is still hard for me, both because of him and now because I was hoping by this point I’d be wishing a happy Father’s Day to my husband. I really want to reclaim this day and make it positive. I keep trying, but so far no success.

So, I figured I’d post here, and offer a space for anyone else who is having a hard time with Father’s Day, for whatever reason. If Father’s Day is hard for you, pull up a chair and snuggle in in the comments section.

A picture of a cozy living room. Two love seats sit paralell, a coffee table between them; behind them is a fire place. Bookcases adorn the walls. The room is full but not cluttered.
Imagine the comments section is a cozy living room like this one.

Talk about whatever you want to — about the day, not about the day. I promise I’ll listen, and I will do my hardest to reply, even if it’s only with a <3 because I’m sending you love.

Today may be hard, but hard things are usually easier when they’re shared.

<3

Katje

My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 21, 2017.


Last month my friend from high school died, and we don’t know why, he just did, he was in his late 20s and he died of natural causes, which is just fucking me up because what the fuck does that even mean?

Like my brain kind of thinks that if you make it through infancy then random natural causes should be off your list of possible deaths until you are in your late 80s. Unless you’re sick or you get hit by a car or whatever, you should be safe.

But his body just quit. It just quit and there’s no reason to it. He was healthy and in his 20s and it just quit. Natural causes means we don’t know what the fuck happened, he just died.

And I’m not healthy and I’m 30 and I don’t want to die. I say I do all the time and I’m suicidal but I don’t actually want to die, I just want the pain to end and so far the most efficient way for that to happen seems to be death. I learned the lesson of my desire to live when I accidentally poisoned myself with belladonna. (Yes, accidentally.) I don’t want to stop living. I’m terrified of dying too early.

And I’m terrified of my husband dying too early. He’s 35 and since Jesse died my anxiety about my husband randomly dying in his sleep has skyrocketed. (It was already there, because I’m an anxious, fucked-up mess of a human being.) He was sleeping in for a long time the other day and I suddenly had a panic attack over it, I had to rush in the bedroom and make sure he was still breathing.

Continue reading “My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up”