Category Archives: Mental Health

Thoughts on Trauma

My kid has been watching Trolls. Thankfully, it’s slowed down, but my goodness, for a while it was on all the time.

Since one of my favorite hobbies is overanalyzing things, I spent my precious time cuddled with my child pondering this movie.

God, look at these monsters. image from Dreamworks

A quick overview of the movie for anyone lucky enough not to have seen it: Bergens eat trolls because eating trolls makes them happy. Nothing else can make them happy. The trolls managed to escape their years of captivity and now live hidden and free in the forest. The bergens manage to find them again and terribleness ensues.

Now, the male lead of the movie had his grandmother kidnapped and presumably eaten by the Bergens. She was trying to save him and got caught instead.

The rest of the trolls are terrible to him. He experienced some terrible trauma. And instead of doing anything that would be remotely helpful, they just make it worse. Huge, noisy parties, ransacking his bunker, and general asshattery to this poor troll.

The message of this movie seemed to be “Just get over it.” Or maybe “Love will help you get over this life-changing trauma.” In either case, they did a terrible job of it. What is this going to say to children who have experienced trauma like this? If they can’t ~find the love~ or whatever to make their lives normal? “Maybe I should sing more?” “Maybe I should hug more?” “Maybe I should realize my life-changing trauma doesn’t matter to anyone else and I should just shut up about it although it has fundamentally changed me?” Like, I don’t get it.

I’ve always tried to treat trauma gently in my writing. I’ve tried to use the trauma my characters experience to work through some of my own issues. But I’ve never tried to gaslight my characters. I’ve never tried to tell them “Just rub some proverbial dirt in it, you’re fine” and have them just move along with their life. No, trauma is this weird tricky thing to work through. I feel terrible for this troll. The rest of their troll society lives in denial about their societal trauma (Our entire race was enslaved and eaten for God knows how long) and throwing loud crazy parties with fireworks and completely unprepared for an attack. And this one troll is trying to stay safe. They’re awful to this poor traumatized troll who is trying to keep them safe.

I haven’t been searching the rest of my kid’s movies for terrible trauma treatment, but I have a feeling I’m going to be finding more now that it’s at the forefront of my brain. It’s interesting to see how trauma is treated and I’ll be curious to point out more as I find it.

The one upside to this is the Hair Up in the Air song is GREAT for being stuck in rush hour traffic because you can just say “GO GO GO” and “We ain’t never gonna stop!” like a million times as you try to get to the airport to pick up your husband because he was in Fresno again. So high five to them for that.

Have there been any movies that struck you as odd or insensitive how they’ve treated trauma? I’m just curious about it now.

NaNoWriMo Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I won the 50k part on the 14th. I won the 100k hopefully later today. I’m 1,913 words out from hitting it. Should be easy… supposing I figure out what project I want to work on next.

I finished My Pet Void. I’m sure I’ll realize all kinds of things need to be added in revision, but now? Now I’m all Aaack! I’m short for hitting 100k.

I have a few projects I still need to finish up. And I have so much revision work that it’s not even funny. But the strangest thing of all, there’s nothing really in the hopper for potential stories. Nothing there crying out to be written, nothing that just needs to come out.

Which was part of the hardest part of this 100k challenge. I have not been so kind to myself. I’ve gotten a little fluffy, more than I can attribute to thanksgiving and all that. I haven’t been walking my dogs nearly enough, the Entropy Machine has been watching so much television. Enough that I have opinions about Blue’s Clues and that Joe is creepier than Steve and that Steve would make the most annoying husband ever. “Hun, you see my keys?” “On the counter by the door.” “On the freeway to Lahore?” *looks genuinely confused*

Anyway. But, oddly enough, My Pet Void was a little heavier than I originally intended and I have not been so good about practicing self-care. So, now that I’m almost done with the month and this project, I’ve been getting up early again and I’ve been going back to my slow carb thing. This is my second morning up early and I’m a little tired, but I’m feeling okay. Maybe procrastinating a little at getting working at 100k, but I’ve been neglecting this too.

On the upside, the app Sleep Cycle is pretty rad. And it wakes you up when you’re the most awake, so it makes it too hard to fall back asleep in the middle of a snooze cycle. That and Forest have helped me stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to my phone in bed.

But, I’m done rambling. It’s time to get on with the day and on with my 100k. I’m looking forward to being finished. I can’t even tell you how fried I am. But it was an excellent test/stretch my capabilities adventure. This NaNo has been great for networking and meeting some new writer friends. Hard not to feel a little isolated when you’re living in your head so much. Anyway. Back to 100k.

Back on the Horse

That migraine knocked me out and off schedule. I’ve been having a hell of a time getting my shit back together.

It’s hard to maintain. It’s hard to find the motivation to wear so many hats. And maybe that’s just being whiny. I’ve always had some executive function issues. I had a hell of a time in high school. I’d always put things off until the very last minute. Same for college. The fact I was even able to put Just for Kicks up for sale is something of a miracle. It still surprises me sometimes.

So, trying to figure out how to make my brain work for me, not just get into its weird little ant trails, has been an ongoing challenge. Making rules has helped a lot. When I made the rule, I wake up early to write, I’ve woken up around six almost every day. Actually getting out of bed and writing didn’t happen, but I was awake. And goofing around on Facebook and Instagram. All the productivity stuff I follow is all about that first half hour of the day. And I’ve been frittering it away on social media nothingness.

But, I was up early this morning. Six. Without an alarm. Just Bzzzt! and I was awake. And I wanted to go back to sleep, but I just haven’t been able to fall asleep asleep after waking up. Just this shitty dozing that does nothing but make me crabby. I  figured out how my new project is going to start and I have a first chapter. That’s a real big motivator. I’ve been perseverating on it and now that I have it, I’m feeling it.

I know writing is war of attrition. I saw a presentation by Kristen Lamb a while back. She said that of everyone who wants to write a book, only 5% will actually start. Of those 5%, only 5% will finish. Of them, only 5% will edit. And on and on. Same goes with blogging. All you can do is just keep doing it.

So here I am. I’m just going to keep on keeping on.

On Trauma

My dear friend was reading through a draft of a LuLo sequel and she said, and this is totally spoilery, so I’m going to stick it under the cut, (and there’s like a million billion spoilers in here for my writing, so don’t be all pissy about it should you enter and have something ruined) Continue reading On Trauma

Ultimately, n=1

I got my daith pierced for my birthday last month. I’d heard it was good for migraines and that was enough reason for me to do it. Even if it didn’t work to help my migraines, it’s a cute little piercing. Win-win.

I’ve been gluten free for a while, a couple years now. When I eat it, I’ll get a migraine within 24 hours. It’s kind of like alcohol. I have too much, I get a hangover. But with gluten, I eat too much and I get a migraine. Anyone who gets chronic migraines will know the struggle to figure out triggers and avoid them. Anyway, gluten is a HUGE trigger for me. Caffeine too.

So, since getting my daith pierced, I’ve been playing and checking my new tolerances. Turns out, since getting the daith pierced, my gluten tolerance is considerably higher. I ate fish and chips. I ate pon-pon chicken (not very good pon-pon chicken I have to say). No migraine, no nugget, nothin’.

I haven’t gone crazy and eaten a piece of regular bread or a donut or something. I’m glad I have a little leeway, but I’m not going to push it.

Anyway, what it all comes down to is n=1. I ran across this term listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast. You are your own sample size and you need to do experiments on yourself. I mean, you can’t do double-blind studies and shit, but you need to be aware. You need to keep track of yourself and what makes you feel like shit and what makes you feel like a BAMF.

I have done so much work pinpointing my triggers for my migraines. I cut things, I add things back in, I try supplements, eating, exercise, whatever. It’s been years of this. So when people are all ~eye roll~ about me and gluten, I get all ~eye roll~ back. It’s not like this is fun. It’s not like this is cheap. It’s not like this is easy. BUT, it has made a marked difference in my quality of life. I’d spend days sick and throwing up. But since being careful with gluten and caffeine, it made things so much better. I am gaining days of my life back. I am happier, I am healthier. I can say with some certainty that gluten is not a good thing for me to eat. And I should also avoid caffeine. Watermelon, curiously enough, makes me violently ill. NSAIDs are also a no go. The super tasty Bloody Maria from my favorite taco place are a huge trigger too.



It’s weird. I have a weird bundle of food things. Which is a shame because I’m a pretty gregarious eater. I like to try new, weird things. And not being able to try so many things is heartbreaking to me. But… whatever.

Anyway. I’m not cutting gluten because it’s the cool new hip thing to do. I’ve found it makes my life so much better. Incredibly better. I’m my own little guinea pig. I don’t need to talk to the IRB if I want to do some weird shit like piercing my daith. I tinker. Continually.

I’m not sure where I was going with this. The hubs has been out of town and the Entropy Machine has all these ridiculous opinions and requests.

“Do you want the blue spoon or the pink spoon?”
“Pink.” … “I want the blue spoon! No Orange! The orange spoon!”
“We don’t have an orange spoon.”
“WARBLGARBL! *caterwaul screech*”

Like seriously. And I’ve been on a big KonMari kick and cleaning my house and keeping it ridiculously clean and trying to revise and editing and trying to write a new one and just. warblgarbl.

I’m totally going to sleep and I’m totally counting this for my wordcount for today. So I’m not going to cut anything and I’m going to count it all. HA HA!