Weeknotes S10 Ep9

The black cloud

Gif: A cartoon man sits at a desk with his head on a hand, he has a thinking bubble above his head which rains on him with a single drip.

I didn’t manage to get my weeknotes out last week. I’m not really sure why.

I wasn’t feeling it, by which I mean, it kept popping into my head that I should write,and I wanted to write, but then I quickly pushed it to the side. This is usually not the best sign because it suggests that I’m running away from something I don’t want to examine…

But then also my other half had Friday off work and then Monday was a bank holiday, so there’s always that Bank Holiday black hole thing that happens when you feel like you should have loads of time but then it seems to be over just as quickly as a normal weekend. So I don’t know.

What happened last week?

When I came back from holiday it obviously didn’t make sense to write weeknotes, so I pulled together “NoNotes” of some things that had been weighing on my mind. So last week was my first week back after holiday, which I guess in retrospect is probably always going to make it a kind of grey one, but it felt like a very grey week. Thank you to anyone who commented or who messaged me about NoNotes, I appreciated every one of your thoughts.

Monday I was still getting over another migraine strike and I’ll be honest I felt pretty wretched all day. I can’t remember too much about it to be honest except that I had a catch up with Arfah about her communities work and product training and that it was good to work together properly for a bit.

Gif: a cartoon black cloud rains and moves from left to right.

I had a catch up more generally with Michael, our DM. On that note, Michel kept a readout of the key things that had happened while I’d been on holiday so I had it waiting in my inbox on Monday morning. Nobody has ever done that for me before and I think it’s such a brilliant thing to do that I’m wondering why we don’t all just do it as a matter of course.

On Tuesday a really dark cloud descended. I felt heavy, like I was wearing a giant fur coat or something, and I just couldn’t get going no matter how hard I tried.

Gif: A sad cartoon cloud rains.

I was demotivated and tired and had a big cry at lunchtime, I haven’t cried like that, without a reason, probably since I started taking my medication about 18 months ago. Anyone who suffers with anxiety and depression will know that this type of comparison doesn’t help really “I shouldn’t feel like this because I haven’t felt like this and this is worse than it has been before and if its this bad when I’m taking medication then what should I do…” it’s a dangerous rabbit hole to fall down because it only gets deeper and deeper.

Anyway I also worked myself up about a project team kick off I had scheduled in for Tuesday afternoon. Which is stupid because it really went fine, and I should have trusted my judgement and experience in being able to do this but the black cloud made that impossible until I absolutely had to, still I think I managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat rather than just rummage around in the hat aimlessly.

In fact afterwards I saw a lovely message from someone in the team had posted beforehand on Slack saying they were pleased to have me as the lead on this because I am “excellent” — I wish I’d seen that earlier.

Weirdly, when I woke up on Wednesday I felt back to normal again. It was as if the whole thing had never happened. So I guess that’s something to remember, it will pass, sometimes more quickly than you even think. In fact, that reminds me of something I saw the other day called HALT which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you can stop and take a second to identify which one you are then you might be able to start feeling better, maybe, I dunno. Anyway, here’s a link:


I had a catch up with David on Wednesday which was a standout moment.

There were a couple of times in the week where I had a meeting where I felt like we’d already had the meeting, and it felt like groundhog day. That wore me down a bit. The conversation revolved around a particular thing that we are doing with funding and how we make it better, there’s two needs; a shorter term tactical one, and a longer term more revolutionary and ‘bolder’ one. I’m not massively interested in the former because it’s short term, but I want to do more thinking about how we move on the bolder one.

Gif: A black cloud rains and flashes lightning

On Thursday I attended some of our departmental unconference sessions and in the afternoon had a catch up with Matt about some of the crossovers with our projects.

The rest of the time I was working on my upcoming project’s Request for Clarification that we have to do as part of the procurement, so I was thinking a lot about that — it’s not hard but as there are a number of stakeholders I was mindful. I also needed to join conversations with procurement and think about data and getting departmental sign off, so that’s where the bulk of my work was.

It didn’t feel like a very productive week at the time but that is quite a few words I guess. Maybe the work wasn’t incredibly stretching — which might be why it didn’t feel very productive — but then maybe given the black cloud that was for the best.

One Team Gov Suicide prevention

A small group at our organiser meeting as people were off on holiday or doing other things, but we still got through a fair bit. And it was a big week in terms of moving things for ward and output. We published four blog posts:

  • Our Code of Conduct
  • An introduction to the first of our contributors
  • A write up of our Breakfast takeover including some key facts and what we learned.

Plus a bloggroll that pulls everything together, which is below, if you’re interested.


As I write this now, on Tuesday evening a week later, I’ve learned today that we have 372 sign ups already of which 69 are Mental Health First Aiders which is amazing and way more than I thought (I joked about what our target should be at the beginning but I don’t think I expected that we would actually get to 300 — and we still have a week to go!)

A short conversation with Debbie and Jenny from Whatsapp about how many we should aim for, my message reads “I’m just gonna start saying 300 to will it into being”

On top of this we took the decision to extend the event by an hour to fit in more brilliant speakers. Which I am so pleased about.

I worked a fair bit on the blog post that Paul wrote about our contributors, just because I wanted to get a feel for them all and to make sure we had consistency in the editing with links to their relevant organisations and details. I did a fair amount of this on Tuesday evening (the black cloud day) and actually I needed to stop in the evening and take stock and acknowledge that the edits and what I had been reading were getting to me a little bit.

This event isn’t going to be easy, it is going to be sad in places, but it’s so important and I really hope we can do the subject justice and support people.

To make myself feel better I dove into Adobe Spark at the weekend to make up some twitter cards and start to feel a bit more productive and impactful, so this week we have a lot of scheduled content getting out there into the world for sharing which I hope will also bring in more attendees.

And what else?

My reading list has fallen off a little bit with the black cloud and the bank holiday weekend being busy doing things like not reading. But hopefully it’ll pick up again soon.


A screenshot of my Trello reading list.

I still haven’t made any progress on my diversity stats, mostly because it’s such a pain to count manually and it’s taking too long, but it’s important to me so I’m hoping I’ll get to it soon. See also: UPFRONT training. I need to get my bum onto Facebook and get on with it.

Ok, that’s enough. See you next week, or later this week x

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