Selected and topical – i’m not just about Mental Health you know!

It was the end of the year and all through the house, not a story was stirring, not even something shitty out of my covid-addled brain…

Yes, it’s true that somehow, in a life imitating art kinda way, I managed to get Covid-19. So when I noticed I’d been selected in the final Secret Attic weekly write of the year (2021 that is) I was really happy, and then I slept. And like Sleeping Beauty I slept some more, just without the beauty and taffeta and organza riddled dresses.

This means I forgot to write about it quickly and get it on my website…so here we are. Once again, I owe you all an apology.

I’m not used to writing successfully about things that aren’t sad or morose, so getting a second (or maybe third, I’m not sure any more) story picked as worth reading when it’s supposed to be light-hearted was really rather lovely.

Getting back in to the flow of writing now we are here in 2022 has been really challenging for me. Finding new ideas and coming up with original ways of writing fiction about mental health specifically has been even harder. I think, possibly, I’m making it harder because I’m only able to focus on my own mental health at the moment.

Am I the only one who gets distracted when they don’t feel great? Do you lose your ability to concentrate too?

So now, ridiculously, I am writing about mental health on a post with a title that SPECIFICALLY says I am able to talk about other things. Apparantly I’m not. Let’s change the subject…

I’m using this early part of the year to think clearly about what I want to do with this website and the fiction I create in general. Stories like this one are always fun, but I find myself second guessing the style and whether or not it’s really believable or enjoyable. When I write about things I have a lot more experience with (yes, depressing things and no, I won’t go in to detail again! 😉) I find I am able to get flowing, get engrossed and feel like I’m convincing. I want people to read and think ‘Wow, I want to know what happens next’ or ‘That was so sad. It reminds me of…’ or even ‘I’m going to read more of her stuff’ and that is a tricky thing to achieve.

But I was fortunate in the early stages of my writing adventure to have the support of writing competition judges and participants just like Secret Attic, telling me they were ‘going to see good things from me in 2022’. Such a compliment, and it’s the thing I remember when I feel like ending the hobby and taking up crochet (no offence to crocheters, I would just be bloody terrible at it!).

So, in conclusion, I’m like a steam train at the station that’s just been given the green light. I need a load more coal to get going, start turning my wheels. But the train engineers are slow at stoking the fire (probably something to do with covid😷😷), so I’m slow to get moving. Once I get up to speed I’ll be able to stay that way for a while (hopefully) and therefore be able to create some quality, memorable and enjoyable stories to post on here.

I need more faith in my ability.

Not a lot to say about the picture accompanying this post. It will all make sense when you read the story. However, this was a completely different design to anything I’ve done before and I LOVED doing it. Most of all I enjoyed the detail of the leaves, flowers and the pastel range of colours I went with. One fun fact for you – she’s faceless because I can’t draw faces. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t work out where everything goes and how. The spacial awareness to get the nose in the right place in relation to the eyes, then how the lips should look, how do I add the right detail? I will one day have the courage to reveal my attempts to you (I tried to do my idol, Adele, but she looks like she’s been whacked in the face by a frying pan 🤣), but for now they need to stay behind closed doors because my confidence is low. I don’t know why, but faces are my achilles heel.

Anyway…

As always, thank you to the Secret Attic team for selecting one of my stories again. Proof of my selection can be seen on their website, and as always, the final draft is below for you to take a look at. I hope you enjoy it.

I also hope you don’t catch covid because wow. I’ve lost 2 stone in 3 weeks. It’s an extreme diet and for once I wish I hadn’t lost the weight. Not like this.

Anyway, rant over, story below. Thank you!

**********

The Bathroom Countdown

Sarah started a 3-minute timer on her phone.

Her bodily fluids were deposited on a piece of white plastic. She was now waiting for two blue lines. It seemed like an odd reality. Was the wait over? Was it finally their turn?

Yes, their relationship would be tested, but she was confident they could survive anything.

Nausea, once again, flooded her. That’s expected, she thought. Sickness is going be a lasting feature.

2 minutes to go…

“Whatever you do, don’t look down” she told herself repeatedly. Not until it’s time. Despite her phone running the timer, she couldn’t help watching and counting along.

A second blue line would be life-altering. Months, maybe years of testing and trying. She remembered when this journey started. They made promises to each other to have a fighting chance. Age wasn’t on their side. She was 40, he was 45. Could they manage?

1 minute to go…

Perched on the edge of the toilet, Sarah nervously tapped the Spice Girls tune ‘Mama’. It was repeating in her brain, so she gave in to it.

Through the bathroom window she heard kids enjoying the local park. Between their screams and whoops, Sarah also heard the breaking hopes and dreams of parents, tired and run-down, helpless as their kids wreaked havoc. Their tiredness penetrated Sarah’s thoughts. It wouldn’t always be easy.

Was it time?

3, 2, 1…

She silenced her alarm.

After uncrumpling her eyes, she found herself staring at the results on the shitty white stick.

There were 2 blue lines. Two! Her blood ran cold with shock and relief.

“Babe?” She interrupted him nervously waiting in the bedroom.

“Yeah? Tell me! What does it say?”

“It’s positive” She paused to let him absorb the news. It was finally their turn. “I’ve got covid”.

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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