I’m changing how I do things for a while

Hi pals

I’ve been talking about feeling uninspired for a while and even when I have ideas for posts, I find the motivation to actually create them isn’t there. I’ve been writing more for my WIP and the inspiration and motivation to do that is slim and far between, I don’t want to be trying to force myself to write for my blog and burn out on it and sabotage the progress I’m making on my WIP. So generally the plan is every two weeks will be a post on the blog rather than weekly for a while. I may not even do that depending on how I’m feeling. But the monotonous repetitive cycle that is my existence at the moment makes it hard to write for my blog when all I want to do is complain!

I’ve also been working on other side projects which has taken up time and energy. I’ve had two self tapes/auditions for small films I wanted to try and go for as the pandemic did get in my way. I started dipping my toes in the acting world again in late 2019. If you’d like to see some videos on my experience doing self tapes and auditions as a disabled and neurodiverse person, let me know! Sub to the channel and leave a comment on this video.

I’ve also had to focus more on my health again. I was meant to taper down 1mg of steroids every month but when we tried to go from 9 to 8 first time, I became very unwell within three days and had to go back up to 9 and it took me a while to feel better again. So we changed it to every two months we would try to taper 1mg and it’s that time again. Trying to make this easier on myself, I’ve been doing 8mg one day 9mg the next and onwards to try and make the transition a bit easier and less shocking to my body. I ended up changing it to 8.5mg for a few days (I’ve had to use my pill cutter for this) and I’m doing OKAY ISH and will go down another half in a few days to test the waters. I’ve also been more relaxed on my diet/how I’m eating to make sure I am not stressing my body further with food expectations or eating less than maintenance (my nutrition coach always reminded me that being in a calorie deficit will add stress onto your body, so I’m making sure I’m not in a deficit to not add extra stress on my body whilst trying to taper as that is stressful enough trust me) so I’m just trying to enjoy food, eat more nutrient dense foods like fruit (and veg when I can, I just like fruit a lot more lol) and eating foods I enjoy. Food has always been connected to emotions for me so eating the way I like for a week or so will also help reduce emotional stress. I’m planning on doing an updated What I Eat In A Day: 1 Year Pescatarian video so leave a comment on this video if you’d like to see that and hear about how I’ve been finding the change in my lifestyle.

I’m trying to remember to take my supplements more regularly as well!! Urgh, I’m so bad at remembering to take anything after my morning meds, I’ve been forgetting my evening pills as well and taking them later. I’ve also been taking more pain reduction precautions, using certain creams that are supposed to help (like biofreeze and CBD products) and taking an extra painkiller at night. I’m trying to keep up some weighted exercise as it helps reduce pain for me as well. I did film a few clips over my weekend which I’ll upload soon that will talk about a lot of this stuff and show you what kinds of weighted arm exercises I do etc.

My sleep has been out of whack since the time change (sound silly I know but I’ve read Neurodivergent people do struggle more with this so it makes sense) plus the steroid tapering, I’m pretty tired. I struggle to get to sleep before midnight coz it would have been 11pm before the hour change. Waking up at my usual 8:30 (sometimes 7:30 coz of the hour change) but struggling to stay awake, so some days I sleep an extra hour. I’ve had a few afternoon naps this week as well which is very unlike me. But as I’ve said, I’m doing what I can to just listen to what my body needs, it needs more rest/sleep at the moment and that’s fine.

Some of my upcoming videos planned are 1 year on Adalimumab (Amgevita) injections (check out the linked video for 6 month update), Gossip Girl reading vlog part 2 (the other half of the series, check out part one here), I’m going to continue watching Dawson’s Creek and vlogging each season, I’ve heard there’s a possible reboot coming so more reason to carry on! I’m working on a Manga Reading Marathon video still, the scans that diagnosed my TAK is also one some people were interested in as I mentioned a few in my pre-diagnosis video last year and a range of scans they do use in my TAK 101 post, I also want to do some book themed videos as I’ve been reading a lot of books by Black authors I wanted to make a video to recommend them and a video about the poetry books I have read as I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry through NetGalley. Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to see me make these videos! I also have a lot of books by Asian authors I want to get to reading, I’d love to make a recommendation video on those books too.

I did get my previous benefits back recently so I have got some financial support back again (still, if you know PIP, it’s pennies) so I would really appreciate people checking out my Kofi, leave a tip or buy some of my art. I have 15 art pieces up for sale, plus a selection of handmade cards. Please check out my links throughout this post and to my social media accounts, leave some likes and share some posts, it helps a lot! I post on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. I am starting to stream on Twitch again but whenever I link it here it error codes out so search artiecarden. Don’t forget to check out my affiliate link with the BookShop for any books you are interested in buying, it helps me out a lot! If there’s something you’re specifically looking for that isn’t on my lists yet, let me know in a comment what you are looking for and I’ll see if the Bookshop have it and link you.

I post pretty regularly everywhere, I just feel like I need to change how I do things for a while.

~ Artie

They/them

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Finding Love in Art Again…

Hey pals,

The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an artist. I let the dream go a long time ago. maybe it’s more that I felt like the kind of art I liked to create wouldn’t sell. No one would want my work. Clearly I’ve been proven wrong! I’ve sold 6 pieces this year, which is very crazy to me. The thought of my art being on display in people’s houses is… I don’t know it’s hard to explain how I feel. I never thought this would be a thing! Thank you everyone who has shared my work!!

I never thought it would be possible to make stuff that would help support me financially. I know I haven’t sold many pieces, but this and when I was making dog toys briefly, has shown that maybe I can and do create things people would like to buy, use and display.

A lot of what I have been creating is made of supplies I already own. I’ve had a million and one hobbies over the years and enjoyed doing different forms of art. I have a bag full of old material which I would like to continue to make dog toys with later on. My film photo poetry is made up of old magazines and old film photos from my great grandparents. The art that goes up for sale are old pieces I updated or finished. I just hope to bring new life to these old objects, I hope they find a new home with someone who loves it rather than all these things going to landfill.

I’m looking into mobility aids I may find beneficial, I’m testing out a ring splint but they are pretty expensive each and might need several adjustments (which costs money to post back and forth etc.) I’ve ordered some ear bud versions of ear defenders to try out and I should be receiving funding for an over the bed desk so I can work better and longer at my actual computer rather than my old laptop (that does struggle with editing videos quite a bit, especially longer ones) and I’m still trying to cover therapy and the chiropractor, along with personal bills like my phone cost and car.

I’m waiting up to 10 more weeks for a response for my benefits (which could be leaving me without support for 4 months total…) so I appreciate everyone’s help and support! My Art shop is open, I have a lot of pieces up and available on my Kofi shop at the moment, also on Depop if you prefer that. You can also leave a tip on my Kofi. I make a lot of educational pieces like these videos in my Disability and Chronic Illness YouTube Playlist or my Takayasu’s Arteritis post.

I have started the process of getting an ADHD diagnosis, I dropped in a letter with support etc. into my GP on Sunday so hopefully I’ll be referred to Psychiatry UK for a free diagnosis assessment on the NHS. They don’t yet have a process for Autism but are working on it, so I think I’ll be applying the same way down the line. Private diagnosis was far too expensive at nearly £1,000 for both ASD and ADHD.

I made some writing progress for the first time since January, I feel like that and my life not really changing a lot are why writing blogs has been difficult. I wrote 1500 words the other day of my WIP and am very close to breaking 15,000 words total. That’s roughly 1/4 of a novel if I aim for 60,000 words. I tend to over-write so I’ll probably end up with a ridiculous amount of words really that I’ll have to cut down. I prefer to do that though over being way under word goal.

I’m always trying to keep an eye out for paid writing gigs, acting auditions, paid art submissions, etc. I strongly believe in supporting each other online rather than seeing each other as competition. We won’t all match the same skill set requirements so if I see anything that would suit a friend of mine more than me, I send it on. So if anyone sees anything that may be suitable for me when it comes to the above, please feel free to let me know via any social media channel or my contact form on this site. I do highly appreciate it and want to put myself out there as much as possible. I also appreciate interactions on my content here and on YouTube and sharing my content with new people.

I think that this year, for a lot of people including myself, has been rediscovering things we liked before we thought of it as a job or a waste of money. I’ve always enjoyed being artistic in any way imaginable. I loved going to art classes and being taught new things, but the things I loved most were things I taught myself. I’ve always enjoyed being innovative, I’ve always looked at things slightly differently though we may come to find that’s because I’m Neuro Divergent. This year has been a lot of re-learning for myself and who I am and what I love to do. Art has helped me mentally a lot, it’s been very cathartic. I can’t believe I’ve been inside my house for a year… in some ways I don’t want the world to return to normal, because I feel like all the accessible ways of functioning will disappear… That’s a talk for another day. I like to hope that Art can change the world.

~ Artie

They/them

Collective Book Haul (December – March)

Hey pals,

I’ve been on a partial book buying ban since 2020 ended, mainly because I don’t have much money and I have many books! But I’ve been keeping an eye out on second hand selling sites (mainly on facebook) for books in series I want to read or have started and liked enough I would like to own and continue (as I talk through these in my Book Series I want to Finish in 2021 video! If you want to buy any of the books series I’m reading, check out this list) so those were my main second hand purchases! I also had £40 worth of gift cards I can’t really use online (they are annoying with how they work…) and I don’t need anything I can buy with them or the shops are closed because of Lockdowns. So when I pop into town occasionally, I check out the only shop open right now that also has books and takes these gift cards!

If you would like to buy any of these books listed! I have linked where you can buy them on the bookshop, if you use my affiliate link you will support me and indie bookshops!

I never really know HOW to book haul, but this is the best I got and how I’ve been doing it for a while. Mainly, mention the book and sometimes link it, talk about why I want to read it and some of them I include the synopsis in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about. The four new books I bought with gift cards from Christmas. I still have some money left on them but they are very annoying to use and I have to keep track of what is left on the cards.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: I watched the film and really enjoyed it. If you’re new here, I love reading books after I’ve seen the film or show adaptation. A lot of the books on this list fit that brief, honestly! But as part of my Books I Want To Read More Of in 2021, I wanted to read more fat-positive books and this is where I’ll probably be starting. “In a small Texas town, a confident fat girl confronts new challenges to her self-esteem. At age 16, Willowdean—her mother calls her Dumplin’—has a good sense of herself. She’s uninterested in Mom’s raison d’être, the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant, which annually takes over the town and Will’s own house.”

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han: I read the first book of this series in September 2019 when I was starting to get back into reading again after my Creative Writing Degree put me in a chronic slump. Another I read after watching the adaptation, there were quite a few differences between the book and film and I’ve seen the second film which makes me curious what the next book is like and this is a series I wanted to try and continue this year. It also comes under books I want to read more of in 2021.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed: “Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Want to chill out and vibe? Come watch Dawson’s Creek with me!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I don’t really know what this book is about I bought it because my friend liked it a lot and the Prince mentioned is called Cardan which is close to Carden. That’s all. “The Cruel Prince follows Jude, a human girl living among faeries. She wants to fit in, but her stubbornness and determination cause her to stand out among the royal family, where she aspires to become a knight.”

The second hand books I’ve picked up highly discounted since December. This is one of the best ways of recycling your books, either offering them for sale or free on social media (facebook marketplace always has loads of book posts) maybe take them to a charity shop or thrift store that sells books, last resort are donation bins. Or some people use old books for art (like me, check out my ko-fi shop!)

You by Caroline Kepnes: Another series I’ve watched! I think I liked series 2 a bit more but I liked it enough to give reading it a go! “The novel presents a cast of emotionally disturbed people whose interactions with each other can be both hilarious and tragic. Joe is obsessed with Beck when she first walks into his bookstore. He uses her name to research her online and find where she lives.” I really enjoy watching thrillers and crime, I am trying to get into reading it!

For more book series I’m planning on reading, you can buy them here.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: Sadly a couple of them aren’t in the best condition but that’s okay. I’d seen the films in the past but not many times, I decided last year I would finally read the books and give them a shot and honestly I was so shocked at how much I enjoyed the books I decided I definitely wanted to own physical copies and these were such a bargain I couldn’t pass it up.

The Divergent books by Veronica Roth: (1-3) “The novel Divergent features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five factions, which removes the threat of anyone exercising independent will and re-threatening the population’s safety. Underlying the action and dystopian focused main plot is a romantic subplot between Tris and one of her instructors in the Dauntless faction, nicknamed Four.” I read the first book last year too, similar circumstances as The Hunger Games, but I would like to give it another read through the lens of disability and neuro-divergence (hm…) because I feel like this might be one of those books showing a bit of a scary reality of the politics we already live and the experiences of disabled/neuro-divergent people.

Please check out my ko-fi and consider supporting me with a tip or buying my art!

Recently I have been reading a lot of NetGalley ARCs, check out the reading vlog here, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading for free and experimenting with some new genres. I plan to do a wrap up blog post of all the ARCs I read recently with general opinions. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in reading about (I will include release dates as well for all the books I discuss, some will have come out already some not) I also have another book tour coming up! I was on the Act Your Age Eve Brown book tour this month, and will be on another exciting book tour in May on my Instagram!

Books have made me feel like I have an escape during COVID and that has been so important to me. How do books make you feel? What books should I read first from this list!? Leave a comment down below!

~ Artie

They/Them

contact here

I Haven’t Really Been Around Much

Hi pals,

My content uploads have been a bit all over the place recently and I wanted to give you an update of why that is and what has been going on. At the start of February, I had my regular income taken away from me, my benefits were stopped. This wasn’t a lot of money but it afforded me to see my chiropractor and my therapist (two very important parts of my care that cannot be provided for free on the NHS) as well as pay my phone bill and my car tax. I’ve been more active with setting up my Ko-Fi art shop and posting on there to keep people updated with what I’m doing (projects wise etc.) and I’ve set up a fundraiser as I really feel like I need to get a diagnosis/assessment for Autism and ADHD. The last year I’ve been seeing more and more traits that link to these two conditions (I talk about it a bit in my recent video where I read Act Your Age Eve Brown about two autistic people falling in love) and I have chosen to go privately. I’ve decided upon this because the assessor was recommended to me by my therapist, I trust her a lot and have spoken to her at length about my thoughts and feelings re: ADHD and Autism, plus the waitlist on the NHS is very long, and having just been through quite a triggering situation with my benefits, I am terrified to open up about my experiences and struggles again to a stranger in case I am told I am making it up or I’m not really ‘that bad’. So I would rather go to someone my therapist knows and recommends, and has experience referring previous clients to and had positive feedback from. Not that I really need to explain this to you, but I like to keep things reasonably transparent as part of my thing is showing you what it’s like to live with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

So since my benefits were stopped, I started to quite aggressively go through cupboards and such in my house, looking for things to sell on vinted, facebook marketplace, depop, twitter, wherever really. I kept a lot of this info on my ko-fi. With a mixture of really generous donations and having sold some larger scale items, I think I may have just about covered the money I had lost(for one month at least). I still have a lot of items up for sale and to sell (please check out my selling platforms, a lot of stuff is up very cheap) and even started selling my art.

A bit before all this started, I’d sold three blackout poetry pieces out of nowhere! I had them up very cheap, just curious to see if anyone would be interested, and they were up for quite a long time before someone was interested but with that one tiny success came a lot of support on twitter and I sold two more pieces that way. I started finishing and listing art on my ko-fi (once i realised you could actually use it as a store, and you get 100% of the money which no other site provides! so it means I’m able to keep my art sale costs low) I finished an old painting of a hand in like a galaxy/magic glitter style which my friend bought. I listed the remaining blackout poetry pieces, and another friend bought a piece. I then started dabbling with a new concept I’d been thinking about for a while: my great grandparents went travelling a lot in their lives and took hundreds of pictures. Last summer, my mother and I went through all these photos ad picked out the ones to keep (of them or of my mum etc.) and I kept a hold of the rest that were mainly scenery. They went to places like Switzerland, France, Italy in the 80s and 90s. The film photos have this beautiful vintage quality to them where some of them look like scenes from independent films. So I started turning them into poetry art pieces and listing them on my Ko-fi as well, another friend bought one. Part of what made me start creating art was the desperate need of finding an income. I have all these supplies at home to create art with that are taking up space and gathering dust, it felt like the right time to start using them and experimenting with what works and what people like to buy. The only cost, really, is my time and labour. I also have a lot of old pieces that are finished or just need some final touches on them. Why not try to find these a new home where they will be loved and appreciated?

Then we also had Rare Diseases day, where I wrote such an extensive essay on here that honestly barely covers the surface of what living with Takayasu’s is like. I had planned to write up a blog draft but ended up hyper-focused on it for two solid hours, wrote 3500 words and found 6 references at the time. I later went and added further website links and other useful references including youtube videos. This had so much support from the TAK community, I think it reached 500 views in a week which has never happened before and now I have a handy guide to reference in videos and blog posts and when talking to people for, not only a basic 101 of TAK, but also my personal experiences mixed in there too. This is another example of when I’ve had to open up about my pain and been ignored by professionals, so I have a long history of being gaslit by medical professionals and I’m not the only one who has been through this either.

I’m making and posting a video soon on my experiences on steroids, again as a reference for what I’ve been through but also a helpful little selection of anecdotes for people new to this medication, but I have been on then since June 2020. We have been slowly trying to taper down the dose from 15mg. I’m currently at 9mg. At the beginning of March, I dropped to 8mg. The first two nights I had mild night sweats and by the evening of day three I was experiencing such awful chest pain I was concerned I needed to go to A&E. My body was not okay, it was really not ready to drop the dose. I ended up taking a couple of 1mg steroid pills that night as my other painkillers weren’t touching the pain, and going back up to 9mg the next day. I felt better, my chest was tender but not IN PAIN like it had been the night before. I felt miles better after my Adalimumab injection on the friday, and that evening (March 5th) I also got my first COVID vaccine! I had no side effects, the injection itself was basically painless. I had a couple of energy crashed the next day but that was more down to what I was doing.

Check out this post on my opinions on taking medication.

I also had a few articles to edit, a book to read and video to make on it for a book tour, I was also working on my NetGalley reviewer rating, and feeling dysphoria, I’ve just been dealing with so much all in one moment that it has been hard to get or stay on top of everything. I mean I made a silly video Watch Dawson’s Creek With Me! because I was just so tired and burnt out I just wanted to watch a show I like and talk about it. My chronic illness related videos always do reasonably well, like this one on Hair Loss and Tips, but I was going through so much medical related trauma and triggers it just wasn’t on the cards to talk about it all. I was and still am exhausted. I couldn’t face putting on make-up for videos or photos. It helps me feel put together and ready to make something, but I couldn’t put myself into that mode. Especially when three weeks were dedicated to analysing the report on my health and writing an argument letter three pages long to convince someone that I have been wrongly judged and had a lot of assumptions made about me. All by another disabled person, which always stings more.

My only spaces of solace have been my one zoom yoga class a week (which is so severely discounted thanks to the lovely teacher I can still access it) and my zoom meetings. That includes my therapy twice a month, my weekly Sick Sad Girl meetings where a bunch of us gather on zoom to talk about a topic in relation to our lives and chronic conditions and just feel heard, zoom interviews for people’s Master’s or BA research (it’s actually very funny and validating talking to a stranger who is interested in you and your experiences of things, it’s nice to get some of these things off your chest) and occasionally facetime/zoom calls with friends or movie nights on Prime. I’ve been focusing on trying to actually connect with people in my life and face-to-face because I’ve been locked up for a year. Outside of my family I’ve only seen one friend in person (and it has always been distanced) and a couple of friends on facetime or zoom. I’ve barely left my house and even without everything I’ve been through since 2021 started, I would have found lockdown 3 really difficult anyway. I’m really lonely. It’s why I sunk into reading books and read 12 in January and 10 in February. I can’t sleep without constant noise, I can only shut my brain up by watching Among Us let’s plays because I’ll be focused on the tactics and figuring out who the imposters are, I can finally relax and fall asleep. This has been my nightly routine for months. I’ve watched all the videos from people I enjoy, multiple times, I’ve run out of videos. I specifically like Julien Solomita’s Among Us streams so I tend to just re-watch those endlessly.

A lot of my friend’s are going through it too, I won’t get into details obviously, but so many people are hurting right now. People I know, people I don’t know… it’s hard to ignore and focus on caring for myself. I take breaks when I need to. I’ve barely streamed (by barely I mean I literally haven’t once) because I’m tired and can’t do all these things I need to do whilst also trying to take care of myself. I would love to do some art streams where I sit and make art but it’s just not mentally plausible right now.

The day I wrote this up, I filmed two chronic illness related videos. I also have vlog type reading videos coming as well I just need to sit down and get to editing them. I think my post on here next week will be a collective book haul from end of December to roughly now as I’ve been picking up cheap secondhand books and new books with Christmas gift cards, and it is a simple and easy blog post to make. This is partially why I make a lot of book content, it’s easier on the emotions but also one of the only things I’ve been doing recently.

Please check out my Ko-fi and consider supporting me as I make a lot of free content for entertainment and education. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with what I’m doing. Subscribe to my YouTube for video content. Follow my Twitch for updates on when I start streaming again. Like my Facebook page if that’s the social you use the most! Hopefully I’ll see you next week.

~ Artie

they/them