The November Monster and Writings

Hello Escritori,

I’m writing this on World Mental Health Day, (10/10) the existence of which I didn’t know about before, but I’ll let you read this now. Hearing about the day just in the course of mine actually made me thankful that conversations like that are being normalised in the terms, and ON the terms of the people who truly know best about it.

I’ve been stable since 2013, so I can very thankfully say that I’ve been healthy for years now. However I am a little bit concerned about November. I have this term, the ‘November Monster’ because that tends to be my time of Manic peaking.

After recovery, 2014 was one of my most productive writing years, where I wrote up to as many as six short stories a month EVERY MONTH for a year with maybe two months chill time. I was very wary of the fact that Mania might have been the cause of this, although it had never before yielded anything creative for me. What I was producing was far too coherent to be Mania – also when my body sent me non-extreme versions of signals like “Sleep!” and “Eat” – I did.

2015 has yielded nearly nothing because I was working and then looking for work. In September, with the desperation of a doll that’s broken, but has the power to mend itself with its other hand – I started writing again. This relief that I haven’t lost the ability to create and tell a story is immense.

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I tried to write a retelling of Bluebeard set in the Carpathians, but had to abandon it when I realised I couldn’t make myself doom the wife to the chamber… (I’m far too much of a romantic, even my vampire stories are sensuous and even foodie rather than gory. Banquets. Mmm.) Currently I have almost finished a twenty page long animal-spouse fairytale. I did my dissertation on the original dark fairy-tales of Europe and the films of Guillermo del Toro: so this is my weird and wonderful comfort zone.

Since the trailer for del Toro’s Crimson Peak has been circulating (making me giggle because it sounds like a phallic euphemism) I decided to check it out, as well as this Tom Hiddleston person. I knew him from the ether, but liked him very much in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. I recently watched his Times Talks Madrid segment on Youtube.

“What advice would you give to young actors, to people that want to be actors?”

“Love your life, because you may one day need to call on the emotion of even your worst days and to thine own self be true.'”

The skill of revisiting those emotions is also the beginning of catharsis. I would add to his borrowing from the Bard, ‘physician, heal thyself.’ It is wonderful to be writing again. I also went for a job interview recently and had a really positive experience.

You’re not legally obliged to disclose mental health conditions at interview in the U.K. – only ever to H.R. on the forms. I always check that they have, (and enforce) Equal Opportunities and the Disability Discrimination Act though. I only disclose if I feel comfortable. I was this time, I was brave, the interviewer was kind and made almost nothing of it – and the sky did not fall.

People assume I’m asking because I am Asian –  fearful of racial discrimination rather than having a chronic illness – but that just proves the invisibility and indiscriminate nature of mental health conditions.

You’d never know unless you tried to view people with the compassion you’d hope to receive for yourself.

Keep scribbling!

~ Pola ~

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