The Llama came back

Hello internet!

Apologies for the disappearing over the last 6 weeks or so. It’s been a rough time. My mental health tanked a bit in the last couple of weeks of my old job and the place I was working showed their true colours with regards to how they viewed disabled employees and accessibility.

I started my new job just over a month ago and so far so good – the learning curve is very steep, they do AP very differently to anywhere I’ve worked before. The people all seem lovely and I’m starting to get my confidence back, so that’s a good thing.

The last couple of weeks though have been very hard on my mental health. The anniversary of my dad’s death, the date that would have been his birthday AND Mother’s Day all falling pretty close together.

And because that wasn’t enough (or possibly because I was so stressed) I managed to get sick on top of it. Fun times y’all

I’ve been taking the best care of myself that I can – not pushing myself too hard, resting as much as I can – and I think I’m starting to come out the other side. My overall mood is starting to improve and my mood swings are less frequent, although I’m still exhausted.

I think my main goal for April is going to be ‘find the new morning/evening routines’, get back into the blogging routine, and ramble at length about the books I’m enjoying again – because somehow I’ve already read 23 books this year, and am close to finishing about 8 more!

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Hobbies I Used To Enjoy

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is Hobbies I Used to Enjoy and uh… hi, my name’s Cassie and I have ADHD, allow me to introduce you to my hobby graveyard

So, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD), for anyone who doesn’t actually know what it is or how it presents, is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. And one of the major traits – especially in AFAB adults – is continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones. It’s a dopamine thing; the ADHD brain is constantly seeking the stimulation that will provide next hit of dopamine, and motivation is… difficult to sustain.

Although I would argue it’s not a deficit of attention – it’s the inability to control attention. If I’m doing something that’s giving the brain the happy juices, I can hyperfocus FOR hours – forget to move, eat, drink, anything.
On the other side of the coin, if it’s something that doesn’t give the dopamine, like idk paying bills, trying to corral the brain weasels is next to impossible – it’s not interesting, it’s not exciting, I can’t do it.

As a result, I’m always picking up new things, trying them, falling in love with them, buying all the things for it (we mentioned impulsivity, right?), making our entire personality about this thing, wanting to do it all the time, and then… discarding them when the next new shiny thing comes along to try. We call this a hyperfixation.

I fell into Duolingo hard. I was learning German, Italian and Welsh. I forked out for the paid account of Duolingo. I bought notebooks. I bought phrasebooks. I bought Richard Scarrey/Usbourne First Hundred Words books in the languages.
It lasted… maybe 6 weeks and all those books are languishing in my spare room.

Stardew Valley. I spent HOURS playing the game, I created multiple farms and multiple characters to play all the different variations of the story. I could literally – and I do mean literally sit for DAYS without doing anything else. Never intentionally, and there were times when I was sitting there thinking ‘Cassie, put the game down and go to sleep’, for example, but I couldn’t because there was SO MUCH HAPPY BRAIN JUICE.
That lasted… maybe 6 months.

Then the same thing happened with Animal Crossing. I played obsessively for 6 months, haven’t touched the game in nearly a year. And I found myself thinking the other week that I wanted to play again – but I don’t physically know how to pick it back up again.

Currently it’s Palia, and has been for 5 or so months. Like, we’re literally talking I UPGRADED MY LAPTOP TO PLAY THIS GAME. In a way, I’m really really glad I had it over the autumn when I was in so much pain with my hip because I don’t actually know how I’d have got through it. I’m still playing every single day and I have a fucking amazing spreadsheet tracking all the quests and stuff I’m doing in the game.

Then there’s the fear of the hyperfixation.

I’ve got one hell of a hyperfixation on Taylor Swift right now – I know I know – but was unsuccessful in the lottery and wasn’t able to buy tickets for the Eras tour. In August 2024. I still don’t know if I’m relieved about this or not because what if I’d spent £££s on tickets but by the time the gig rolled around, I’d lost interest?

Li and I went to Hobbycraft the other month and I picked up a whole bunch of kits of things I want to try – things that look fun. I spent probably £40-60 that day. It’s all sitting in the bag. Because what if I don’t like it? What if I DO like it? What if I try it and I’m no good at it.

And I’m terrified of the day that reading stops giving the dopamine hit.

So yeah. ADHD and abandoned hobbies. sigh I has them. All of them.

life · weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Documentaries I’ve enjoyed (and a quick life update)

To catch y’all up, I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last couple of weeks. There have been calls to 111 – the NHS non-emergency line. There has been a visit to a Minor Injuries Unit. And I’ve had to register as a temporary patient at my partner’s GP in Devon – where I’ve been stuck for the last month. I saw an Advanced Nurse Practitioner last Friday who did a full physical exam and diagnosed me with piriformis syndrome with sciatica, and trochanteric bursitis. She prescribed me a month’s worth of 10mg amitriptyline, 30mg codeine (not co-codamol this time, straight codeine) and 500mg naproxen. She tells me to rest, gives me ‘gentle’ stretching exercises to do, and she also signed me off work ‘for two weeks to start with’ – I’d honestly only wanted a letter or something that confirmed I was being treated in Devon, and couldn’t drive, but now I get to properly relax, let the drugs work and my body heal

When I’m just sitting, as long as I don’t move too quickly, it’s easy to forget that I’ve been in excruciating pain. With the pain pills, it’s mostly dialled down to a deep ache – with the odd muscle spasm and pins and needles in either my foot or my bum. And can I just say that that is a weird sensation in your bum, that point where when your foot has been to sleep, it’s waking up and about to tip into pins and needles? That, in your butt is weird.

I’d say when the meds are all worky and I’m being mindful of what I’m doing, the pain is at about a 3-4 (sometimes distracts me), but when they wear off or I forget myself, it’s at about a 5-6 (hard to ignore, interrupts some activities). Though when you consider 4 weeks ago it was a 9, and a week ago it was a 7, I’m getting there slowly. I’m still uncertain if I’ll be able to drive home next week or if I’ll be getting another sick note, but there’s a whole other week to go. The swelling in my thigh appears to have gone down though so I’m taking the small wins!

The meds are still making me a little woozy and wobbly. I’m making sure to keep moving regularly and I’m doing my stretches every day. I’m not getting a huge amount of reading done because my concentration isn’t great. I’m working through organising my tags on Dreamwidth and posting a bunch of memes. Mostly, I’ve been getting a bunch of colouring done – apparently, that’s the current hobby du jour

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge is about A Documentary I Liked and I don’t know where to start. I watch a lot of documentaries – mostly (and I’m sure you’re shocked) history and science ones.

I enjoyed Alien Worlds on Netflix and Year Million on Disney+. American Ripper, which investigated the theory that Jack The Ripper & HH Holmes were the same person, was fascinating

BBC Horizon documentaries are just CLASS. I mean, BBC documentaries in general are utterly fantastic. There was a Chris Packham one about T-Rex which was brilliant, and there was one about the weather on other planets. So was The Genius Of Modern Life with Hannah Fry.

Li and I have been working our way chronologically through all the available David Attenborough shows available on iplayer and they have all been fucking fantastic. And so many of them completely groundbreaking for their day. That man is a national treasure and should be protected at all costs. Also, how does he clamber around in rainforests, jungles and deserts and his clothing still pristine white? Even the planet recognises his importance LOL

If you have any documentary recs, please feel free to share them!

book blogger hop · weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Unique talents, reading burnout and What I’m Reading Friday

I had an assignment due yesterday – an 800 word proforma outlining the argument, sites and sources I think I’m using for my end of module assessment. Do you know how cool it was to be able to talk about why I want to use Euripides and the Labours Of Heracles in an essay? But that got submitted on time, I have no more study scheduled until the weekend (reading some Pausanias) so it’s time to catch up on some link-ups

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge asks A unique talent you have and this actually reminds me of a TikTok video I saw the other day which asked about our mundane superpowers. I couldn’t think of one at the time and then could I find it again, or even remember who it was by? No, no of course I couldn’t! LOL
My betrothed, Li, says that I have a talent for pressing pause on a TV/movie at the right moment to get really good expressions on characters’ faces. And, I’m really good at predicting who’s going to get sent home each week on competition shows like Bake Off or Masterchef – but never when I think about it, I can just say it moments before the presenters! 

Book Blogger Hop asks (and, OK, this is last week’s question) Do you ever get burnt out from reading?  And yes, I definitely do. I used to read 70 or so books a year, but the last couple of years, since lockdown essentially, because I’ve been really struggling with my mental health, I’ve barely been reading 15-20. I’ve picked it up again this year and have alread read more than I did last year, in just three months
And in March, I was so busy with both school and work, battling my health and fatigue and wasn’t able to juggle everything so reading was the thing that got dropped. I only finished 2 books. But again, I’m coming back out of the other side of it, and I’m reading again.

What I’m Reading WednesdayFriday
What are you currently reading?Liv Albert – Greek Mythology, Bill Bryson – The Body, and Sarah J. Maas – A Court Of Mist and Fury
What did you recently finish reading?
Dr Amanda Brown – The Prison Doctor, and Sarah J. Maas – A Court Of Thorns and Roses. And I DNFed Charlaine Harris – Real Murders
What do you think you’ll read next? either Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl or Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled