i’m a sad little apricot

That’s it. That’s the post.

I’m kiddding. Bad joke, I know but I feel like you can make an exception for your sad little apricot.

I’ve been in a slump for a month, nearly two. Don’t get me wrong I can tell it’s coming, the sadness and all, because that’s just how it works, I get super happy and excited and inspired and then I crash.

But it always sucks.

I dissociate, on average twice a year. It’s never been as long as it was this time and it’s never had such a huge snowball effect on my life. It started off with me feeling uninspired and lost and completely detached from my feelings and then the next thing I know everything’s too vivid to be real. Fast forward a month later(around June 12) to me posting this, because I couldn’t deal with the thought of not writing any longer and then to two days ago where after nearly two months of not feeling anything I had a breakdown.

Oh how I love my life.

Totally not appropriate sorry!

But to go from not feeling anything:

Here is my heart. Place it right in front of a wrecking ball and take a swing because I can’t feel a single thing.

Here is my heart.

Place it front of a wrecking ball and take your best shot. Make it go splat against a wall. I just need to know there’s something inside of it.

I need to know I’m not losing myself.

To feeling everything in an instant, hurts.

It was one of those major breakdowns where I immediately sent out an SOS to a couple of my friends and they responded back almost instantly and they were lovely and kind and supportive and understanding. And then I felt horrible because I still felt bad after everything. You know that scene in Mean Girls where Regina George gets hit by a bus?

I’ve never felt more like Regina George.

I didn’t want to classify this as an if we were having cheesecake post because whilst I do write about some sad stuff there, that’s not why I started it. I wanted cake humor and life updates and oh dear me, I must be cake deprived.

So here’s a very boring update for you in a few sentences because I don’t think I can write much more.

I’m sad and exhausted and uninspired. And none of my coping tips are doing much of anything and everything seems topsy-turvy. And did I mention my laptop is broken too?

If any of you have any tips for getting out of a rut or passion project ideas that I could do whilst I ‘recover’ from whatever one would call this, please let me know.

xxxChips

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because i continue to disappear for months at a time (see also:does it still count as a sabbatical if I’m not Dr. Bailey??)

~🌙🌹~

champagne kisses and whispered promises shared between tangled limbs//you taste like everything i could never have and yet gazing at the cotton candied sky i’ve never been more convinced that stars can be people too//in the summer we run through the vineyard and soak up the sun it’s the kind of life that’s easy to lose yourself in//weeks feels like years that melt into forever but time slips through my fingers lately


In case reading that wasn’t a major clue, I don’t have a poetic bone in my body but I’ve been forcing myself to write for the past month.

This is the part where we pretend I didn’t disappear for a month.

I might change the title at some point (or not) and I might explain my disappearance(maybe not) but in case you were wondering I’m still here.

xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Cait

Get To Know Me Questions

 How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Author. Blogger. Bookworm trying read absolutely everything!

 There is a fire and you can either save your book or the last slice of cake in the world. Which are you saving?

Probably…my book!? Which might be a bad decision because I can’t eat it later…

  What some books have you read/ movies you’ve seen that have changed your life?

Despite feeling like a cliche, I truly have to say The Hunger Games! It really changed how I wrote, encouraged me to really hone my own voice, and it also opened the doors to Young Adult fiction for me. And then I had such a book hangover after it that I went looking for those lists of “what to read when you’ve finished The Hunger Games!” and that’s where I was introduced to Maggie Stiefvater, who is absolutely my favourite author. So I owe a lot to The Hunger Games!

  What are some of your biggest pet peeves?

I am super peeved when people hate on others for loving harmless things! Just let people be happy!

  How many siblings do you have?

I have five — four sisters and one brother.

  What made you want to start blogging?

I actually have to blame my oldest sister…she suggested starting a blog. And though my first reaction was “what’s a blog lol”, I did start and obviously it kickstarted a huge part of my life for me!

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General Mental Health Questions

 How do you tell if a book has good rep if you don’t struggle with mental illness?

The best thing to do is ask the opinion of someone who also has that same illness — or read their reviews! I look for other markers too. For instance, if these problematic tropes pop up, I get concerned that it might be bad rep:
(1) is the character with the mental illness built purely on stereotypes?
(2) is the illness represented only by the villain?
(3) is the character only loved after they’re cured? or are they “cured” unrealistically?

When it comes to noting if it has GOOD rep, I often find the story really loves and cherishes its mentally ill characters! If I can, I also look to see if the book is #ownvoices (ie: the author has the same illness and is writing from experience).

  Advice for bringing up the topic of mental health with a friend who is struggling?

Sometimes it’s easier to reach out through a text instead of in-person. Instead of cornering someone into telling you “what’s wrong”, make yourself available (if you can) to be a listening ear, a support. Often those of us with a mental illness feel like massive burdens, so belay that fear for us.

  My family and ‘friends’ don’t care about my mental health, what advice do you have for that?

If you’re able, find an online community to support you! I’ve met amazing people online who struggle with similar things that I do, whether it’s depression or social anxiety. Books are also a safe haven to find comforting messages. But absolutely know, no matter what, you’re not alone. You’re not a burden. And you thoroughly deserve the best life you can have.

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Autism

  What is autism?

It’s a disability with such a huge spectrum that it’s rather hard to define! But it’s usually classed as having social and communication difficulties as well as very definite sensory sensitivities. It’s something you’re born with and, no, you can’t “catch” autism or develop it.

  How old were you when you were diagnosed and what impact did your diagnosis have on your life?

I was diagnosed at 21! I’ve been autistic my whole life, but a lot of the autistic diagnosis markers are based on boys, and girls present differently. My life was really starting to unravel after highschool, a common thing for autistics who don’t transition well (like: from highschool to adulthood), and my family and I pursued answers…which turned into an autism diagnosis. Suddenly so many things made sense. It was a relief for me, a lightbulb moment. I had the information to find tools to make life easier for myself.

What is the biggest positive of being autistic?

Things I love: being intensely creative and seeing the world from a different angle. Taking such deep pleasure from small things. Being passionate and good with details and being easily accepting of other’s differences. When you’re different, it makes little sense to judge others!

 What is the biggest challenge you face being autistic?

For me, it’s overwhelm. Too many people, a change in routine, a deadline, things being too loud…my ability to tolerate them is very low and throw more than two at me at once and it’s a recipe for disaster.

  Have you had any negative reactions when people have found out you are autistic. What advice do you have for that?

The worst was being caught in an online conversation about eugenics where someone said to me that autistics shouldn’t exist. Being told you’re “defective” and the world would be better off without you is an actual gut-punch. Sometimes I think it’s best just to walk away from things like that and take care of yourself first. But if you feel able to, and have the tools, speak up. I wrote an article back, taking apart their flimsy thinking. But the whole thing did leave me shaken.

  How do I support my friends/family members with autism?

Ask them what they need! For example: the expert on my autism isn’t a book, an article, or a psychologist. The expert is me. But I’m not the expert on the next person’s autism. So let the autistic have the voice, in any way they’re able to communicate. Also read lots of memoirs by other autistics. Never act like your autistic friend/family member is broken.

  What are some things people don’t usually know about autism?

I honestly think most people know next to nothing about it! Which is why we need more accurate representations in books and media (preferably lead by autistic creators!). I find people get surprised at how many ways autistics stim (these are like self-soothing repetitive tics that we could do for hours). Usually you think autistics just flap or rock, but we have so many ways to safely stim and we love it! Touching textures, smelling things, listening to specific music, fiddling with things, dancing, finger movements, jumping.  

  How can society make things easier/ more accessible to autistic people?

Because autism is such a huge spectrum, it really depends on the individual. One thing I have deeply appreciated while beginning my career of being an author, is how my agent and editors have made communication accessible to me. I’m not great at speaking out loud, so we skip phone calls and work solely by email. Things like this make the world of difference. Don’t shut doors because you think an autistic “can’t do something”. Find another way to open the door.

 Finish the sentence, “To everyone with autism, I want you to know…”

…you’re absolutely not broken and you are epic the way you are.

  Finish the sentence “To everyone without autism, I want you to know…” 

…autism isn’t an epidemic and it’s not a bad thing and the world is made fuller with us in it!

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Writing

  Do you have a writing routine? 

I tend to write in marathon-sessions instead of everyday. So I don’t really have a day-to-day routine! Just basically: I take a few months to write an outline, then I whip up a first draft in a few days, take a break, then spend months revising.

  Advice for moments when I don’t have motivation to write?

Make sure your creative well is full! It’s hard to write if you’re only giving out creatively and not taking in.

  Favourite places to find writing inspiration?

I do so love listening to music and going on long walks.

 When did you first decide you wanted to write and why?

I blame all the books I read! My childhood was made up of piles of books and my parents encouraged creativity, so it was natural that I turned to making my own stories.

  Does it ever truly hit you, the fact that you’re a published author with fans worldwide who are inspired by you and your journey?

It’s still totally surreal! Every time someone says “Oh I loved your book!” my reaction is still, “REALLY!??!” Haha. I’m so pleased to be able to share my words and actually be able to hold my books and see them in bookstores! Never going to get over the magic of that.

  How important is it to you to talk about the experiences you’ve faced in your writing?

In my latest book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, I did write about anxiety and autism — in ways that showed the characters weren’t broken and deserved loved. That was super important to me to be able to say.

  Best tip for aspiring writers?

Keep going! It seems like a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but the truth is: the more you write, the better you’ll be. So despite rejections and failed projects…always keep writing something else. You’ll get there!

  How has writing helped you manage your mental health?

Sometimes it’s been therapeutic, like when writing about anxiety. And I do love disappearing into my worlds of magic and mayhem as a break from reality.

  Do you have a preferred point of view when writing and reading?

I do like 3rd person the best, I confess!

  Do you think it’s harder to write from the point of view of the opposite gender? What changes? What stays the same?

For me, it’s not really harder? I just write people and my aim is always to get into that particular character’s shoes and figure out how they’d seen and react to the world. I feel that’s less about gender than about personality.

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The Boy Who Steals Houses

  What inspired you to write TBWSH? 

My story inspirations always come from a huge collection of things! For this one, I wanted to write a genderbent Goldilocks retelling. I also love going for long walks and since I pass by a lot of seemingly empty houses, my author imagination started to work and ask, What if a teen broke in, not to steal, but just to live while the owners were away? It fit solidly with the Goldilocks tale so I meshed them together and The Boy Who Steals Houses slowly came into existence.

  Are any of the characters in TBWSH inspired by people you know?

The De Lainey family dynamics are inspired by living with a big family myself…but I don’t pull particular characters to be inspired by real people! I would feel so awkward doing that haha.

  If you had to pick your favourite quote in TBWSH which one would it be?

“We are the kings of nowhere. We only need us.”

  What were the hardest and easiest parts of writing a #ownvoices novel?

Hardest: The pressure! Not wanting to make mistakes or badly write something that means so much to you.
Easiest: Knowing what you’re talking about! And falling into sync so easily with your characters because you know what they feel.

  Did you have any fears when writing TBWSH?

I always am scared my books are secretly horrible and will explode into a poof of dark smoke as soon as they hit the bookshelf. Just, ya know, the normal fears.

  What are some genres other than contemporary that you’d like to write in the future?

I’d love to write magical realism someday!

  What are some of the biggest influences on how and what you write about?

I’m definitely influenced by what I read, the authors I admire, and what’s happening in society.

  If you could have a sleepover with Sam, Beck, Avery, August or Moxie, who would you pick and why?

I think August would be the absolute best person to be friends with. She’s so kind and welcoming, will fill any awkward places with a smiles, and has zero judgements about anyone. She was one of my most loving characters to write and I adore her!

                                  

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | Hachette UK | Hachette AUS |

(buy A Thousand Perfect Notes)

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Waterstones | Booktopia | Hachette UK | Hachette AUS |

(buy The Boy Who Steals Houses)

Cait’s Blog

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I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

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xxxChips

civil war

Trigger warning:mentions self harm and suicidal ideations

On my best days I scream from rooftops. On my worst I become a shell. The opposite of everything I want to be. I wallow in my thoughts, flounder in my tears, allow myself to become prisoner to my illness. I smile and say ‘I’m okay’, I laugh, I flirt, I am the definition of beautiful madness. And then when everyone goes back to their lives I turn off the lights and bury myself under bedsheets the same way I would be 6 feet under.

And I convince my brain that I’m not okay, that I need to try my coping mechanisms and so I run my hands under cold water and draw on myself with markers till I look like artwork. The world’s definition of beauty. But my eyes betray me. Red not from hash but from war. I am fighting my own mind.

It says Drown. Recovery says Swim. I compromise Float. In between both.

It says Cut. Recovery says Colour. I compromise, Both. I cut anyway tinting my skin red.

It says Stop Breathing. Recovery says Deep breaths. I give short panicky painful I- Can’t-Breathe ones.


“The Civil War!”

“The war we fought against ourselves.”

“You actually studied this?

“I’m living it.”

a million little pieces

15/01/2019

01:46

I don’t know if I’ll get better. Or if I’ll live long enough to finish my before I die list. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a friend like Leonard or meet someone who makes me feel the way reading Tigerlily does. I don’t know a lot of things.

But I do know I want to hold on. And I hope that I am strong enough to. I don’t know how long it’ll take for the scars to fade, or if I even want them to. But I do know that I live in a world where people like Leonard exist and that gives me hope.

I know nobody is planning on swooping in and saving me, for two reasons. One, I’m not a damsel in distress and two, the only person who will ever save you is yourself. I feel like that’s the only way I won’t relapse,getting better for the right reasons.

I don’t really know how to feel about a million little pieces but I know that it did something for me, and I don’t think I can quite put into words something I don’t understand yet.

But it was special, in its on way. Not like The Catcher In The Rye or Tigerlily or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, books which mean everything and more to me.

It has it’s own special place in my heart.

I want to get better. I want to get better. Fuck. I want to get better.

I don’t know if I’m strong enough.

And it’s too late for a quote stolen off of Pinterest to save me now, or maybe even for love letters to myself. I think I need to accept and move on and be analytical and firm if that makes sense?

 My mental health is still being figured out and I’ll probably be recovering for the rest of my life but I do know what I need to do to get to the point I want to be at. And if I get there and I’m not happy then maybe I’ll give up. But for now I’m holding on. Partly for myself, partly because a part of me feels like I owe it to Leonard, a man I never even knew.

But I find it cool how you don’t even have to know someone and they can change your life. Impact you in ways you didn’t think were possible. I will grit my teeth and I will slug it.

I will take the bullshit if that means someday I’ve got my own apartment doing whatever the fuck makes me happy and that list gets completed.

I will pick up the million little pieces of myself and put them back together. Differently this time. I’ll do it my way. A million little pieces, and I can be whatever I want to be.

There is no blame.

Just a choice. Yes or no. A decision, I’ll have to make over and over again. To get better.

And I hope I choose yes.

I hope I choose to hold on.

For myself. And for a man I never knew.


I finished reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey a while ago and I got the urge to write this the second I finished it.

I’m fine… I think

 

its not 11:11 but here’s my one wish for you in 2019

In 2019,

I hope that whatever happens you choose to love yourself and be happy. And not give up when you feel like those aren’t options anymore. You’re incredible, even if you don’t see that yet. I believe in you

I love you endlessly

xxxChips

Thank you for putting up with me, and loving me and caring and being you. Thank you for being the reason I didn’t give up completely, and for being the reason I got back up. I appreciate you. And you will always be more than just a pretty face.

a bit of a mental health update

I don’t want sympathy on this post, I really don’t. I just need someone to understand that whilst they’re days when I feel capable of doing anything, I still have days where I lie in bed thinking about how I don’t like my body, and how I’ll never catch up with school and how I wish I had something to say instead of having to constantly write posts like these when I feel like I’m drowning or overwhelmed.

I just, wanted things to happen a certain way this year and that didn’t happen, and now I find myself in between a mix of self love and acceptance and hating everything about myself.

And I can’t help but think, life shouldn’t be this hard, why is it so hard, why is happiness something I feel like I have to chase after?

But I have no way of answering that.

Recently I went to see a psychologist, my first one since moving and it was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had. An hour of her invalidating my every emotion, and then her trying to discredit my diagnosis and saying I was more or less trying to make a big deal out of things.

I have only felt an anger that extreme at one other point in my life.

From the very beginning I’d been unsure about finding help in this country, and if I doubted I would get help whilst I was here before, well now I’m certain.

For those of you who don’t know, the official diagnosis I was given was Bipolar NOS (not otherwise specified) and basically what that means is that whilst I don’t meet the criteria for Bipolar 1 or 2 the changes in my mood are still significant enough to be considered “abnormal”.

And whilst I was medicated for a while, that kind of got put on hold abruptly when I moved. To put it simply my views on medication are as follows:

If it helps: great

If it doesn’t: Maybe it’s not for you/ you need a different dosage or different medication

And since we’re on the topic of medication, there’s a few things I wanted to say,

I feel like a lot of people have felt like they were in a position to judge or make comments about me being medicated when they weren’t. See, the thing is UNLESS YOU ARE THE ONE STRUGGLING, 99.9% OF THE TIME YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR THE PERSON WHO IS unless you’re a medical professional, and even they mess it up sometimes.

So here’s what you shouldn’t do when you find out someone struggles with mental health problems and/or find out someone is taking prescribed medication to help them cope with those problems:

  • tell them they don’t need it
  • tell them they’re over-reacting/faking their issues
  • tell them that they’re too young to have all these issues
  • call it a phase

(all of which someone has said to me at one point or another)

Because none of the things listed above are helpful, or supportive or kind. They come from a place of ignorance and lack of understanding.

So instead of invalidating their feelings, tell them you’re glad they’re taking steps to get help. Tell them that you’re there to support them, and listen to them if they ever need someone to talk to, and then remind them, because it’s so easy to forget.

xxxChips

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