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Just Keep Breathing

I’ve not said much on my blog recently. There’s plenty I could be saying, but sometimes I think it’s better not to. I’ve been reading, writing, and grieving. I’ve spent time with my family, I’ve spoken to friends, and I’ve been trying to be kind to myself.

This last weekend was my birthday, my son’s birthday, and Father’s day. It was a lot to take in. There was that constant presence of grief, and on top of that was the unrelenting irritation of anxiety and depression. We had plenty of beautiful moments and made special memories, but it was rough.

Half the year has passed now. It’s strange and I’m more frustrated than ever that my mental health is stagnant. Covid has meant the services I need are not available. They likely won’t be available for another few months. Hopefully I will have something more positive to report on that front soon. For now, I’m just going to keep breathing.

Uncategorized

What day is it?

I can’t be the only one who spends the vast majority of their time unsure of what day it is (and we won’t even discuss the date…). For those still in total lockdown, life is like a rendition of Groundhog Day. I’m bored. My entire family is bored. I am equipped for isolation – I’m just not equipped for isolation with the addition of other people.

For one, toddlers have no sense of social decency. My kid is getting up at 6am, singing nursery rhymes with his foghorn voice, smearing oreo cream over the sofa, and headbutting me in the stomach. I love him dearly but we have entered the terrible twos early.

If I’m to believe my social media feeds, everyone I know has taken to baking, gardening, and crafts. This is all commendable (and quite creative!), but I can’t relate. Honestly I find it difficult to find even a slither of motivation to do anything productive. That is, if you don’t include my extensive island renovations on Animal Crossing and my growing pile of read books on GoodReads.

I’m struggling to stay busy. I’ve never ate so much apple pie in my life – someone will have to roll me out of the house like a barrel by the end of all this. I can’t stop eating. It’s ridiculous. However, the summer is beginning and we’re lucky enough to have a garden so perhaps I’ll get some writing down.

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Lock down relapses

I didn’t want to overly write this post but I try to keep this blog as open as I can. My mental health has plateaued over the last few months. This was going to be something I discussed with my consultant, in the knowledge that a medication change would be required in the near future. Unfortunately, that plan has been put on hold.

The reality of the situation is that medication changes come with risks and the current health crisis means there is not enough available support to manage those risks. I’m having to confront the very real reality that my mental health is deteriorating faster than I would like. I am both exhausted and plagued by insomnia leaving me a wandering zombie for days at a time.

But it’s not all grim. I have my awesome toddler who spends most of his day singing enthusiastic renditions of his favourite songs. I am surrounded by people I love and whom I love in return. This week I’ve regained the concentration required to read and do a bit of writing (finally!). It’ll get better but right now is pretty rough.

Life, mental health

Magical Readathon 2020


Let’s be honest, the quarantine lock down is getting boring. There’s only so much Animal Crossing one person can play. Then I spotted this hash tag floating about in twitter: #owlsreadathon2020. Some of my book blogging friends were getting really excited about it all so I did some investigating and now I’ve been lured in.

Readathons involve reading a certain amount of books in a set period. This one is Harry Potter themed! You basically look through the career book, pick a magical career, and for every O.W.L required there is a prompt for a book. I’ve opted for the ‘Hogwarts Professor’ path which has left me with seven prompts. Here are the seven books I’m about to commence reading:

Prompt 1: A book set at sea or the coast

Book: A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

I tried reading this book last year but I wasn’t in a reading frame of mind. However, I remembered the town the book is set in as a coastal location and there was a boat on the front cover. This was the best bet I had in my collection for this prompt.

Prompt 2: A book with a white cover.

Book: The Cherries by D. B. Carter

I don’t have too many books with white covers so I was pleased that I was able to include this book in the readathon. It’s a book with kindness at its heart and about finding happiness after trauma and hardship. It’s also written by one of the nicest writers I know.

Prompt 3: A book to mostly be read at night.

Book: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I chose this book mainly as a means of supporting my mental health. Times are tough right now, I’m not sleeping well, and I wanted to ensure my bedtime reading would be positive. Matt Haig’s books always have interesting reflections on mental health and life in general. I’m hoping this will get me into a good frame of mind.

Prompt 4: A book featuring a witch or wizard.

Book: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

This is a reread for me – I read it for the first time when I was about thirteen. It’s everything you would expect from a Pratchett novel and that includes a witch! I can’t wait to revisit this book.

Prompt 5: A book under 150 pages.

Book: The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Do you remember the movie The Iron Giant? This is the book behind it. I loved the film as a child and I vaguely remember being read a version of it at primary school. A couple of years ago I bought a copy but I’ve not had an opportunity to read it until now.

Prompt 6: A book featuring shape shifting.

Book: Changeless by Gail Carriger

This is the second book in The Parasol Protectorate series. I read the first book last year and it’s essentially a steam punk fantasy series with a sassy female protagonist. There are vampires and werewolves involved so it met the shape shifting criteria and I’m hoping I’ll be able to read the next two books in the series when I’m done.

Prompt 7: A book selected at random.

Book: Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

This is another book which got left behind last year. I picked it up on a whim during a shopping trip. Mr Robinson helped me by picking up a few random books and this was the only one from his selection that I hadn’t read yet. I’m not completely sure what to expect from this read so that’s quite exciting (fingers crossed it’s not awful).

creative writing, Evolved Energy Short Stories

#52 Knock, Knock!

The fifty-second short story in the Evolved Energy Series.

Previous

Three raps on the door were all it took to grab Eacal’s attention. Every paused boom reverberated in the empty rooms. He knew who was at his door. He’d know that knock anywhere but he didn’t know why they were at his house at nearly midnight. 

He pulled back the solid wooden door and a shock of black hair fell into his chest, limbs sprawling in all directions. Raw alcohol flashed into his nose. If Eacal was anyone else, he would have stumbled. As it was, he held the other man up like a brick wall. 

“You’re drunk.” Eacal laughed. 

The other man struggled onto his feet, pouting up at the brunette that had caught him. “You dropped me!” 

Eacal raised an eyebrow. “If anyone dropped you, it was the door.” 

“It moved!”

“Hicc,” Eacal cast his eyes carefully over his lawyer. “You’re really drunk. What’s wrong?”

Hiccup slalomed against the walls in his effort to reach the living room. He knew the route like the back of his hand but tonight the number of hands in front of his eyes had tripled. Eacal’s iron grip clamped like a vice on his left hip, steering him onto a plush sofa near the fire. Unceremoniously, Hiccup flumped into the cushions. 

“Don’t get all fiery with me. It’s hot!” Hiccup snorted at his own joke. 

Eacal’s eyes widened in utter disbelief. It would seem drunk was an understatement for the condition his friend was currently in. There weren’t enough Earl Grey teabags in his cupboard to sober up a mess this bad, so Eacal mentally prepared for an overnight guest. His younger self would have rushed to the kitchen for a bottle of something and moaned about having to catch up: his middle-aged self grumbled about not being in bed before eleven in the evening. With his son at a sleepover, and his wife on a “girl’s trip”, he could have taken the opportunity to go wild. Instead, he had watched reruns of a sitcom on the same sofa Hiccup was slowly falling asleep on. 

“Do you want a glass of water?”

Hiccup’s eyes pried themselves open. “Yeah. Water is good. It’s blue like your eyes. You have really blue eyes. Did you know that?”

“I’m familiar with my eyes, Hicc.” Eacal swallowed.

He could hear his best friend’s rambling from the kitchen – even over the sound of the running water. His own mouth began to feel drier than his Mother’s attempts at chocolate cake, and so he poured an extra glass. Dealing with a drunk Hiccup was not unprecedented. In their youth they had seen each other drunk so many times that they normally didn’t give it too much thought. Tonight was different. 

“One glass of water.” Eacal smiled as he placed the tumbler on the coffee table. 

Hiccup’s vibrant green eyes never left Eacal’s face. “Why’re you always so nice?”

“I’m not,” Eacal smirked. “You just happen to be on my list of people I like.”

“Like Felicity?”

Eacal paused for a moment. “My wife’s not all that likeable at the moment.”

“You still married her,” Hiccup snorted. “When you could have married me.”

Silence rang through the living room. Eacal felt as though he were swimming in uncharted waters, but he couldn’t seem to pull himself to safety. They were on the verge of opening up Pandora’s box after spending over a decade locking the contents safely away from view. 

“You’re very drunk, Hicc.” 

“Ok.”

“I’ll see you in the morning.” Eacal scratched at the back of his neck and left his best friend in peace. 

(All characters, setting, plot etc. belongs to me – Erin Robinson) 

Life, mental health, Parenting

In Isolation

I’ve nearly spent a full week in total lock down. We’ve had some really tough decisions to make and, as a family, we’re struggling to adjust to our new normal. Coronavirus has changed our life for the foreseeable future. It baffles me that some still don’t take this seriously. It’s not a game if there are lives at stake and it’s very obvious that lives are at stake.

Mr Robinson is not a ‘key worker’ but his office is still open. That means he’s still using public transport to go into the city and spend all day in close proximity with many other people. This led to us having to make one of the roughest choices we have ever been faced with. Ultimately we decided that Gabe and I would go into self isolation with my Mum and sister – I’m asthmatic, as is my Mum, and our steroid medication for asthma is often linked with reduced immune system. In short, our chances of survival if we catch Covid19 are not as good as if we are healthy.

There are people in the UK right now complaining about not being able to go to the pub, moaning about not being able to sit in their favourite cafes, and stubbornly visiting elderly relatives. Last week I literally made the decision to separate our family. That’s not a joke. My kid is talking to his Dad from two metres away through a partially opened window. I haven’t even been able to hold my husband’s hand in nearly a week. I can’t risk getting sick. I don’t want to die and leave behind my husband and toddler.

We don’t know how long this situation will last – at least twelve weeks. That’s three months of our family unit being ripped apart because of this virus. It will be longer if people don’t abide by the regulations and, let’s be honest, there are large groups of people not complying. Panic buying is still happening. Parks are still crowded. I fully expect the country to go into a full lock down in the very near future.

But we’re not alone. My family have made tough choices but so have many other families across the world right now. We will cope. I may have to practice Voodoo on the creators of children’s TV shows but we will cope.