(Credit: Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash)

This has been one hell of a week. At the end of last week, I met online with my supervisory panel and everybody agreed I could spend a year in submission pending, aka “write-up mode”.

I think that must’ve lit a fire under me because I kicked off this week with a fresh sparkling timetable, fully expecting I’d probably break it by Tuesday. Except I didn’t. I kept going. Monday I wrote 2000 words. Tuesday I did 3000 words. Wednesday, another 2k, and that was in the morning. In the afternoon I was on a course to learn some resiliency…


The World Gets Biblical

Everything underwater

Last year, I wrote about how a local woman had had a frog infestation in her house. A plague of toads! A plague of toads in the midst of a more general plague.

Now it’s a flood. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s an angry god up there somewhere, seriously letting rip on the human race. Or that segment of the human race living around here.

Generally speaking, I’ve learnt to take these flood warnings with a pinch of salt. It’s not that they aren’t serious. In some parts of Yorkshire and elsewhere, it floods…


Photo by Stella Jacob on Unsplash

Last week, I wrote up a long post about trying out meditation in virtual reality over Christmas. I gave the Tripp app two weeks to prove it might be useful for helping me manage my depression and anxiety symptoms. (Note: I don’t get any financial benefit from writing about this from Tripp or Oculus, this is just my own test of how helpful meditation in VR can be.)

I’ve just finished weeks three and four, a two-week test of how this whole process works when you’re, well, working. It’s January, we’re in another lockdown, and I’m supposed to be finishing…


Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

Sunday is runday. T went cycling Saturday to pick up a new pair of wellingtons, and had a bit too much whisky during a Zoom quiz, so it’s me on my own.

I love running solo. As much as I love running with T, which is a challenge for speed and focus, once I got used to it, I started to enjoy being alone out there, listening to music or a podcast, shutting out the world. I was training for a half marathon this time last year, and doing really well.

I do get anxious going out on my own…


Can tripping out with an Oculus Rift help me manage depression and anxiety?

Photo by stephan sorkin on Unsplash

Christmas was broken. I don’t even remember which tier we were in because everything was changing so fast and getting worse. The run up to the break is always hard. It’s like running a marathon, all that focus on getting to December, 20 miles in or so, and then realising you’ve got to do another six. We were going to be allowed three days to spend with family. Then one day. Then please don’t at all, thank you.

Coronavirus doesn’t take a break because we want to…


Photo by Steven Houston on Unsplash

I’m three hours into the working day and every minute of it has been a battle. I do all that healthful morning routine: Morning Pages, meditation, 750 words. I can get through that all right, but then I clear off the desk and sit down to start and suddenly my brain is buffering and I just don’t want to start.

I veer around the work. I’m supposed to be finishing my PhD thesis. I’ve written the physical number of words, but now I need to make sense of everything I wrote while I was in that quicksand of depression. I…


Not that I was any good at it before, mind you

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

It snowed on T’s birthday. Late December, and we’d planned to meet up with his core group of friends and go for a walk. Remember those heady days when we were only tier three, and we could actually see other people? Anyway, it snowed. We woke up to a white world muffled in the way that snow closes off sound but somehow makes everything louder at the same time.

I wish I could say it was great snow, but it was North of England snow so before long it…


We’ve been in three tiers in three months, and we haven’t even moved

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Wow. We all just said good riddance to the dumpster fire that was 2020, only to have 2021 show up and say “Hold my beer, I got this. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

We’re in tier 5, as of an announcement from Boris Johnson last night. I’d been doing the washing up* and T was playing Bioshock. I asked what the new rules were, and he gave me a long, grave stare.

“We’re breaking the rules. We can’t even be in the same room any more.”

I stared.

“It’s okay. It’s like tier 4 but more.”

We’ve reached the point…


Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

It’s been a long time since I’ve properly written here. I dropped off the radar in October, and there’s a complicated story behind that. I’m not even out of the woods yet, but at least I’m on the way there (I hope).

If you know me, you’ll know I’ve had mental health issues about as long as I’ve been alive. I’ve had episodes of severe depression for about thirty years. …


Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

T’s best friend’s wife tested positive for CoVID yesterday. She’d spent the weekend unable to get out of bed, although she’d been to visit her elderly parents before the illness took hold.

They’re over in Ireland, which has just brought in another full lockdown. This is the first case we’ve had so close to us, at least emotionally-speaking, and it leaves a bit of a chill in your soul. Sometimes, I think it’d be fine if I got it. I’m fit enough to regularly run half-marathons. Plenty of people my age have brushed it off.

But then I think, “What…

Joely Black

There will be dragons. Ancient magic, academic and fantasy writer in love with Egypt, cats and rats. For more dragons, fantasy, and magic: https://fiveempires.s

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