Firstly, let me say thank-you again to all of you who follow me. The site is light on the story side for which I apologise profusely, but I do intend in changing that in the future. I really do appreciate all of you, andI am quite surprised by how many followers I have! I write what I enjoy and want to read. While ‘awards’ and accolades from my peers and readers would be an eventual nice bonus, I will never seek to beg for nominations or votes as I truly believe that so long as someone somewhere has enjoyed it, that is thanks enough. Too often we become focused on the ‘quantity’ of our work and readership, rather than the quality. I would rather write one decent thing and have one happy reader, than to have written 15 eh things and been nominated and awarded up the wahzoo.
Which leads me to a pet-peeve of mine: ‘vote as many times as you like’ awards. To me, that isn’t a true reflection of the feelings of the readers. For all we know, an author may have one fan with too much time on their hands that repeatedly votes and ensures a win, while actual popular authors may have 100 happy readers who are only able to vote once. Don’t get me wrong, rewarding fanfic authors is a lovely idea, one I very much agree with so that they know they are appreciated; I just happen to be rather skeptical whenever winners are announced in ‘vote often’ awards. I happen to know for a fact that an author won an award once simply because the same small group voted repeatedly. Nothing wrong with showing appreciation with voting, I would just like to know that I have won based on my own merit and not because someone was bored. Wouldn’t feel like a win to me.
That is off topic however. The real reason I am posting today is for a few reasons.
1. One of the reasons I have been quiet on the literary front is that over Easter, I came down with whooping-cough……again. Seriously. I got whooping-cough and pneumonia last year for five months and both managed to wipe me out and degrade any energy I had. It must have decided it missed me so much it came back. This saw me having to take four weeks off work while I became extremely friendly with my lungs…and the toilet bowl. The porcelain God must be really happy with my worship right now. On top of that, because of all the coughing, I tore a muscle between my lung and diaphragm on the right hand side and was essentially immobile for two weeks. For one of those weeks I was on some veeeeeery nice drugs so I have zero recollection of what occurred during that week. My housemate insists we had certain conversations but I cannot for the life of me remember. I am well now and back at work but it threw me for a pretty big loop. Am also still getting tests and poked and prodded in regards to mystery symptoms I have had for over a year so I am pretty much exhausted all the time.
2. At the end of week one of being sick, my laptop decided to die. Cometely blue screen of deathed me. The motherboard is deader than a True Blood writers’ talent but luckily the hard drive was saved, so yay! However, because I have zero money, I have zero computer at home. My iPhone is my computer right now and as much as I am fond of all of you, I will not be trying to type out stories on that tiny keyboard. I am in the process of trying to find a cheap laptop I can just throw a Word freeware on so I can write then save to USB and load up at work but at the moment I haven’t found anything I like. Weirdly, I am not really missing having a computer…….
3. For several months, work was sucking my will to live and I have had some rather serious family issues. I don’t blather on about the family stuff so most tend to have no clue what I am dealing with but needless to say its been extremely stressful and draining. I have never been that / this miserable in my life. Actually, that’s a lie. When Patrick Stewart remarried recently and whenever Askars puts on a shirt it makes me pretty miserable. But I digress. Job-wise: It had gotten to the point that I was actually looking for new employment. Luckily, due to a combination of side-effects from the below point and a change in co-admins, work is fun again! Bored out of my mind right now as it is my quiet month but on the whole, I am much much happier. Happier me = not face-planting as soon as I get home me! Family-wise it is still pretty stressful and I have to take it one day at a time.
4. This one is the hard one. This one actually hurts to write about but I am open and forthright about things, so here goes.
I have suffered from depression for the last 26 years. I was 8 years old when it first started affecting me, along with OCD, and I spent many years fighting the illness and the thoughts that go along with it. For me it is related to an actual chemical imbalance in my brain and nothing at all to do with ‘feeling sorry for myself’. Mine is caused by my body’s inability to produce correct amounts of the chemicals that affect and regulate mood. If I hit too much stress or situations that are negative, the happy chemicals plummet to quickly fir my body to cope with and depression happens. I have been on anti-depressants off and on for the last 14 years but have been on them steadily since 2011 after losing the majority of my possessions to a flood. That was the year the plans for my future fell apart and anything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and I tried to do myself an injury. Over the last three years I have had ups and downs. There will be months where I am happy and stable and doing quite well, when suddenly my mood will plummet and for the next several months I’ll be irrational, clingy, self-conscious, angry and more. While in one of these down periods, I will be completely aware of just how irrational etc. I am being, but will have zero control over what I say and do. Eventually I come good and am fine again.
Several months ago, I went into one of my down periods. I was unable to do anything I enjoyed which I felt immense guilt over but I was literally not able to find the energy to do anything. Being sick for as long as I had been just eroded my equilibrium. Occasionally I would have good moments and would get things done in regards to writing and other things I enjoyed (banners etc.), but on the whole, I was paralysed. The guilt made me feel worse which fed into the depression which made me feel guilty and so on. I began to have, what I thought, were irrational feelings of jealousy toward some people I knew but I fought those feelings for a very long time. I knew I was difficult to deal with and not very fun to be around, but I desperately needed to feel wanted, useful and liked.
Several weeks ago I reached a breaking point. I was miserable at work, at home, with my family and with my ‘friends’ online and felt like I had no place where I felt safe and appreciated. One day out of desperation, I voiced my feelings of jealousy. I was upfront and completely open that I knew what I was feeling was irrational but needed reassurance and understanding. What occurred next has hurt me much more greatly that I can ever explain.
Instead of being encouraged and given understanding, I had my feelings mocked, my long-term symptoms mocked, my illnesses mocked, my work situation mocked, my personality mocked, and was essentially torn to shreds by the very people I had believed were my friends. I was basically told I has no right to feel crappy about the things I did . (At the time I had several choice things I wished to say in retaliation but decided I was better than that and refrained. Sometimes I wish I were a bigger bitch so I could say what was on my mind but I actually try to treat people with kindness). I was essentially made to feel as though everything I had ever done for them was crap and unappreciated and was told to take some time off, only then to be promptly ignored. Minutes later I discovered I had been removed from the group I was a part of and have essentially been ignored by these people ever since.
I in no way claim to be completely ‘innocent’ here. I had been high-maintenance for quite a while and was difficult to be around. I had mood swings at the drop of a hat, was unenthusiastic and knew I wasn’t fun. Despite all of this however, I had been continually supportive of others when it was needed and was extremely hurt when the favour was not returned.
I went into a serious state of shock and eventually took myself to the hospital later that afternoon after beginning to take multiple doses of my medications. After speaking with a very nice healthcare professional some 7 hours later, I was sent home. When I got home, my housemate whom I had been in sms contact with, sat with me on the lounge while I sobbed. When I awoke the next morning, I deleted Facebook and fb messenger from my phone and essentially cut myself off from the social media. (Having my computer die a week later also helped).
Since then, I have swung between abject depression and extreme anger. Things I had wished to be a part of have occurred and I have watched sadly as this group of people continue on unscathed while I was and am completely shattered. Part of me is extremely angry and very much wishes to lash out, while the larger part of me, the kind part, holds it all in. (Something I’ve been told is part of my problem but just because someone was a bitch to me, in no way means I have to be a bitch to them.) I have since been told that part of what I believed was an irrational fear and jealousy is actually quite accurate. I won’t continue but I will say that the hurt is still very real and very present. People who claimed to be my friends and claimed would stay in contact with me have not spoken to me since. Admittedly I have received an email from one of that group I have not replied to as yet but I appreciated their effort and fully intend on replying once I can do so with a cooler head.
Weirdly however, I am actually much happier away from Facebook and this group etc. While I miss feeling useful and being creative like I was, I’ve decided that it just means I have more time to do fun stuff for me and will freelance for people if they want stuff made for them. I have come to see just how miserable I was not being able to be myself and express my real opinion. I allowed opinions that were not my own influence me and I am ashamed of myself for not realising this sooner. I’ve been enjoying reacquainting myself with stories I love and have enjoyed watching really bad DIY shows. (Addicted to House Rules. Love it!). With the help of some very beautiful ‘real-life’ friends, they gently pointed out that they love me and that perhaps I needed to get some help because they hated seeing me so up and down. Not once did this small group of wonderful women make me feel less than I am. Not once did they mock me, or belittle me but gave me permission to feel what I felt while reminding me these feelings were likely incorrect. They loved me basically and I will forever appreciate them. I do not have a large circle of friends, in fact I can count on one hand the number of friends I have, but every single one of those women I can depend on if I ever needed them. I’m not a social butterfly and am very shy with new people so find it difficult to open up and make new friends so if I let someone in, it’s a very rare thing and therefore all the more hurtful if abused.
So, what does all of the above mean? Well, firstly I have sought medical help for the depression. Am yet to see the doctor as waiting lists are such fun things but at least I finally got proactive about getting an appointment! Am nervous and feel like a failure a lot of the time but now that I am on the upward swing again I know I need to get this addressed. I have already been told by the emergency doctor that I basically bottle everything up until I explode and I really need to find someone, a friend or professional, I can talk to. Since I can’t afford anymore speeding fines through taking my anger out on the accelerator of my car, and I don’t wish to burden my friends, the doctor wins!
This also means something rather exciting. Firstly, I have been working on a TB story that has been rattling around in my head for a year now. Due to not having the computer I have had to resort to the old-fashioned way and am planning things out with good old-fashioned pen and paper. It is coming together nicely and I am hoping to start typing it all up soon so I can get it posted. In some ways I am sad I came to TB so late in the game. Part of me wishes I had been a part of the original group of fanfic authors who started to write about Eric and Sookie at the peak of the genre’s popularity. Readers and authors alike are moving on and part of me worries my story will never be seen, but then I remember that one person is all I need to make it worthwhile and I am excited again. There are certain things I feel passionately about that I never really see in any of the fics I read so am very excited to finally bring my opinions to the TB world. I will beta my own work, not because I don’t trust anyone else but simply I find it easier. Unlike other authors out there, I’m actually not precious about my stories. I don’t believe that my story is sacred and not to be fiddled with. If something doesn’t make sense or sounds clunky, I want to know. If my writing sounds like a description or a list rather than actual storytelling, I want to know. So feel free to comment if you spot something. Kindly please. There are ways to point out errors without being cruel. Yes it’s sad if people do not like what is written, but that’s the way of the game.
Also, I have been working on an original novel. It’s actually a story I started working on yeeeeeeeeears ago. (Like, 2002 years ago). I was quite a ways into it when the pastor of the church I attended at the time told me, basically, that my writing was a sin and I needed to stop. Being as big a people pleaser as I am, I heeded his words and stopped. It broke my heart and basically killed a part of me but I gave it up nonetheless. What is more heart-breaking about all of this is that I had given an outline of the story to a publishing company at the time and they were interested. Pulling out the old books three weeks ago, I found the story came back to me as though I had never stopped and have been happily working away on it ever since. I was actually well-known for writing multiple stories at once so this isn’t as hard as I worried it would be.
So, this is all a big and giant way of saying, “Sorry I have been a slack poster. Here are my reasons, but I will be posting again within the next two months fingers, legs, toes, eyes and arms crossed”. I will only work on one thing at a time posting-wise as I find it unfair to have readers become engaged in one story only to have it abandoned when a new story pops up. Power to those authors who can write so many stories, have so many ideas on the go and post regularly (kjwrit. I’m looking at you!), but I am just not one of them. I envy authors like kjwrit who are so extremely talented and so good at what they do. (It’s zero secret I have a total girl-crush on kjwrit and consider her my fave author.)
So anyway, thank-you all for listening. I have needed to vent for a while and feel better now that it is off my chest. If I lose followers over my honesty, so be it. If I’ve offended someone, apologies but so be it. I’ve deliberately not used names to protect identities but part of the healing process for me is venting this into the universe so, yeah.
If you know anyone who is suffering from depression, NEVER EVER tell them “So and so has it worse and they are happy” or “You need to grow up” or any number of unkind thing. Depression is very real to the person suffering it and requires kindness. You can be firm without being cruel and kind to them without letting them wallow. Yes they are frustrating but remember what they are feeling is very real to them and you anger will
only be added to their feelings of guilt, lack if self-worth, etc. If you think you have, or think someone close to you has depression, go to the below websites for tips on helping them.
Thanks all and see you soon!