Posts Tagged ‘depression

17
Aug
19

Voices

“I don’t know why you bother. It’s not like you’re going to manage anything useful.”

Her tone is mocking, the singsong of a child, though the voice itself is husky. It’s a voice I’d almost forgotten, one that might have been better off left in the mental graveyard. But I’d dug her up, because there was something else in there with her.

You dug me up? I don’t think so, Gumby.”

God, I hated that name. It’s what she used to call me. A million years ago. That annoyed me more than her rifling through my mind to spit my own metaphors back at me.

“I dug myself out, thank you very much. Once you finally stopped piling more pills on top of the grave you threw me in.”

My eyes drift to the corner of the desk, to the row of orange bottles with their child-safe tops and the dozens of capsules, tablets and pills inside.

Haldol. Prozac. Xanax. Lithium. They sound like the names of Elder Gods, come to drag your soul and sanity away. They had certainly taken away my soul. Sanity was up for debate.

I hadn’t taken any of them in a week. After three years of them, I’d gotten lonely. I could do without her voice, but they also blocked the other voices, the ones I had to listen to, the ones who whispered their stories to me in the middle of the night and begged me to write them down in the morning.

The doctors claim it’s dangerous. Just going full-stop, cold turkey on a pile of psych meds that have been collecting in my bloodstream for years. They’re probably right. But I couldn’t keep going. If having her watching over my shoulder was the price, so be it.”

“So noble you are, Gumby. Don’t you think it’s a little pretentious?”

I felt a weight on my shoulder, both comforting and horrible. She was so strong, so there. I could feel her digging her nails in, and knew if I looked down I’d see the flesh of her fingers turning white with the pressure.

I didn’t look down. I didn’t want to be right. I acted like nothing had happened at all, that everything was fine, everything was normal. There was only one thing that would make her let go, make her shut up. Maybe not forever – maybe not even for more than five minutes – but at least for the moment.

I reached forward and hit the button on the back of my computer. Her fingers loosened just a bit… or maybe I only imagined it.

“Awww. You think you’re gonna do something? I doubt it.”

The last syllable was buried under the ominous but still comforting “bong” that any Apple user is familiar with. The word processor app popped up almost immediately, the window still open. The computer seemed to feel it had merely been put to sleep while I got a coffee, not powered down in a petulant fit nearly a year ago when I’d stared at the blinking cursor and empty white space for almost an hour while grinding my teeth and accomplishing nothing.

“Should have formatted it. Packed it up.”

Maybe she was right. But only one way to find out. I cracked my knuckles and settled my fingers on the keys, wincing at the electric stab of pain that worked through my wrists and forearms.

“I think you’re wrong,” I told her. Actually saying it, instead of just thinking it at her, seemed to be important. Sure, if anyone else was watching, they’d see an old gimp hunched over in a ratty chair and talking to himself… but no one was watching, unless you counted her.

“We’ll see, Gumby.”

I swallowed. The cursor blinked at me, patient and yet somehow snide.

The keys clicked. I wasn’t aware of them moving, but they seemed to know what to do. “Elle,” they spelled out. A name. I was always fond of starting things with names.

Click, click, click. “Might have been dead for years,” my fingers added. She had fallen silent. I was quiet, too. Didn’t even breathe. Writing is like casting a spell, and I was afraid to break it.

Might have been dead for years, my fingers said. That implied there was a “but” coming. Somewhere inside I felt something else waking up, some other part of me that had been buried in the same hole that she’d crawled out of, the same medically-induced coma all the other voices and drifted through for the last three years. That part of me was wonder, curiosity, the part that wants someone to tell it a story, that wants to know what happens next.

I gave in to that part. I let it listen, while my fingers did the talking.

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04
Aug
19

Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything

Some good points are brought up here. Check it out. (Comments are disabled here; please visit the original post.)

When it comes to mental illness, one of the most effective ways to understand it is through conversation. I often say that unless you’re chatting with someone who has dealt with mental illness themselves, it’s difficult to convey what exactly it entails. Talking to someone about a mental illness you’ve both experienced can be one […]

via Let’s talk about mental illness — ontheedgeofeverything

03
Jul
19

Why I Haven’t Written

It’s been a while. Some of you may have thought I finally died. Contrary to belief, I haven’t… though it’s been close a few times.

My health problems aren’t getting any better; now they say I need surgery. If you want the full lowdown, or are in a position to help, you can stop by my GoFundMe. Anything helps, and it’s really down to the wire, here.

But that’s not why I’ve been in submarine mode. It’s fear. I mentioned this before, but it seems to be getting worse. Now it’s not just about fiction; now it’s about literally anything you say, anywhere.

In the last week, I’ve been accused of being alt-right four times. I’ve had dozens of people comment bomb my YouTube channel. I’ve been locked out of one social media website and warned of it on another. What is the root of these issues? Questions and opinions. Not of the type that one might once have branded as racist, misogynist, transphobic or fascist, mind.

One was earned by commenting on how odd I found San Francisco’s recent vape policy changes. Apparently thinking SF loosening up on marijuana while banning vape devices – including potentially fining citizens who import them from elsewhere or have them shipped in, if some reports are to be believed – means I am a racist fascist.

Another was earned when I commented on a video showing what are known as “sovereign citizens.” If you haven’t read up on these idiots or seen their antics, I encourage you to do so; they are a fine example of how dangerous a little stupidity can be. My comments questioning why these individuals feel the law does not apply to them, but how they also believe the law must protect them and serve their interests when they have been “wronged” lead to an individual commenting back about how rights are constantly taken away from us, and in particular how he isn’t allowed to own a gun. I responded, asking him to cite what rights he was referring to, and why he was not allowed to own a gun, pointing out that the primary reason that would be forbidden to him is if he is a felon, which led to him name-calling and starting the comment bombing, rounding up his couple hundred subscribers to start downvoting my videos, flag me for hateful content, and leaving such charming statements as “holy shor r u an ugly slob and weirdo,” for one that is actually printable.

Managed to earn a banning from Whisper because I made the mistake of responding to one that stated “Dear cishet people: fuck you, you should die.” I asked them why they felt that way, to which they responded “Because of alt-right transphobic faggots like you.” I then – stupidly, I admit – said “Okay. So what if I said ‘Dear transpan people: fuck you, you should die’ because of alt-left nonbinary attack helicopters like you?” I got no response, but was informed my ability to access Whisper was terminated shortly thereafter.

The last was for mentioning that Antifa is much closer to a terrorist, fascist organization than seemingly anyone they claim to oppose. While that sentiment has been festering for some time, the most recent situation in Portland just drove it further home. I live an hour away from this crap… and this is not the first time this particular band of jackals has gone berserk. Questioning them, finding their tactics deplorable, wanting actual police or legal action taken against them, or pointing out that they seem far more ready to use violence and underhanded tactics against those they claim to oppose – while spouting or supporting rhetoric about tolerance, equality, and peace – is enough to earn you some stern warnings from Twitter (even though the discussion was occuring on YouTube), some charming DMs informing me that “the alt-right cesspoll (SIC) would be a lot cleaner without u, kys” and a few more comment bombs on my YouTube.

I don’t have it that bad, in this respect. Others have had it far worse. There have been more than a few folks who have lost their internet presence entirely, who have been physically assaulted, have had their bank accounts closed, have been doxxed, fired, or swatted, or some combination of any or all of the above… and all for the crime of wrong think, mind crime, speaking their mind, or asking questions.

Of course, let us not forget that individuals such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian have gone to the U.N. to stop the evil internet bullies, such as those I’ve earned the enmity of lately… of course, that only counts if you’re a woman, or a person of color, or of a sexuality other than straight.

That’s not a cry for attention; it’s just my general sardonic amusement at how things work, now.

Still, it’s a scary time. Plenty of people will be quick to inform me that I’m right to be scared. I’m an evil oppressor, after all, and I’m sure I’ve done plenty that could be construed as a hate crime… or will be branded as one in days to come, as that particular goal post keeps getting shifted, and as we all know, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done today when it comes time to burn a cross. It matters what you’ve done, ever, in any situation – because context is also irrelevant. Others will leap to tell me “Good. Now you’ll know how it feels,” because they’ve been so oppressed in their sub-30 years on Earth that punishing everyone else for things that are often centuries dead arguments somehow makes sense to them.

I’m not well; that’s well known. Physically I’m falling apart, and I have numerous mental issues that aren’t helped by that. But want to know what really aggravates my depression, and makes me wonder how schizophrenic I actually am, instead of being legitimately paranoid? The idea that I have to tiptoe around everywhere and everyone, carefully evaluating every single word I say or type, every image I upload, every game I choose to stream for fear that every carefully laid brick of my corner of the internet or my books – or even my bank accounts, freedom or life – will be torn down because I pissed off the wrong person or group, or someone called me a name in reference to it – earned or not – and someone else decided to take action.

I may be paranoid… but that doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you, as some sage or another once said. Some may accuse me of hyperbole. To those people, I suggest you try putting the phrase “conservatives banned from” into Google and just follow the suggested links. Look at people jailed for false rape accusations, or for things that are considered “rape” these days. Look at people losing access to education, to community or government services. Look at people having their careers decimated. Look at people being doxxed and swatted. Look at people being assaulted. How long before it escalates to murder, whether due to intent or because one of their coshings does more damage than initially assumed or intended?

The really funny – if you can consider any of this a laughing matter – part about all of this, is that I am not even close to being right-wing. I think the only marker I have from that camp is the belief that laws should be followed, endorsing and enforcing those laws is important, and that they apply unilaterally. Otherwise, I could care less. On most issues I’m a lot more liberal. Let people call themselves whatever they want, have sex with whatever or whoever they want (within reason; pedos and zoophiles steer clear, please), profess to whatever higher, lower, or interstellar power they please (or none at all), dress how you want, do as you please. I’m a LaVeyan Satanist with a strong Thelemic stripe; “If it harms none, do as thou wilt.” I’m just apparently not left enough (or maybe not self-hating enough) for some folks’ taste.

So yeah, I’m afraid. Afraid my lungs are going to shut down, afraid I’m going to be evicted, afraid that no matter how many meds I take or nice, calm doctors I speak to my depression is going to push me over the edge. But all of those pale in comparison to the fear that one wrong word at the wrong time is going to destroy my life, and some so-called journalist will be sure to tell the world I had it coming and want a parade for the “heroes” who finally ended me. It’s a shitty way to live, but I don’t know what else to do with things what they are, and I feel like they’re only going to get worse.

Anyway. That’s enough from me for now. I’ll try to be more regular, to do more. I want to, and it might help with the depression. Or it might make it worse, amping up the fear. Who knows? We’ll see.

If any of you out there want to help out, to keep me breathing until the men in the white coats drag me away or the men in the black hoodies and bandanas clock me with a bike lock or shut me up permanently, it’s certainly appreciated. You can drop a dime in the bucket on Patreon, or contribute to the surgery fund on GoFundMe. Even if you can’t, consider giving either or both a share; everything helps. If you want to stalk me, you can find me playing bad games on Twitch, and a follow there helps, too.

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading. It means a lot to think that someone out there may actually read my words and not immediately inform me to kill myself, that what I type isn’t completely falling into an empty void. Stay safe out there, folks.

16
Oct
18

Breaking Dreams

Something I – and many other artists, I imagine – struggle with is the feeling of worthiness. That my ideas matter, or might be of interest or value to someone else. I can’t speak for everyone of an artistic bent, but that feeling is compounded for me by numerous mental issues.

I do tend to believe that artistic folks tend to have a greater incidence of mental illness, but that’s probably a topic for another day.

But those issues pile up, combine with self-esteem problems, and the constant wondering if the work is good enough and the desire for input so you don’t feel like you’re creating in an echo chamber.

That’s when I get the most discouraged. I’m sure I’m not alone, here. You have what sounds like a really cool idea. You need a little input, or an opinion, or maybe just a sounding board to talk it out with so you can clarify it in your own head. You go to a loved one, a friend, a message board or whatever, and before you’ve even finished articulating whatever it was, someone whips out a hammer and crushes it.

Now, those people may not have known what they did. They may not have done it maliciously, or even meant to be harsh at all. But in my own depressed, fragile, constantly doubting mind that quick dismissal is like a knife shoved between my ribs. It kills discussion regarding that idea, and frequently reverberates through later ideas, shattering them before they even have a chance or form or subjecting them to “well, the last one didn’t fly so why bother with this one?”

For those like myself, those rejections and dismissals become grains of sand around which black pearls form, tended and brooded over for years after the fact, often receiving far more attention than the idea that led to them until they are so large there is no room for any actual creativity. It’s not healthy, but it’s true. Again, I’m pretty sure I can’t be alone in this line of thinking.

Two that I remember: While mulling over Ioudas and where it needed to go, having started with the premise that the concept of “sin” was a type of “energy.” Attempting to determine where that energy would need to go, and how one would ultimately get rid of it, I commented “So Jonas would have to fight literal, physical manifestations of the Seven Deadlies.” I got that far before I was cut off. I had more; images of what those sins would mean to Jonas, how those manifestations would be dealt with, almost a whole story complete and ready to go. Before I could do so, however, the person who I was speaking with said “Oh, the Seven Deadlies. Really fucking original.”

Ioudas has been sitting at 25% complete since then; about three years. Every time I open the manuscript and think about working on it, I hear that voice again and slam the iPad shut, snarling.

The other was in reference to “Little Miss No Name.” Now, she’s fared better than Ioudas, with actual progress occasionally being made, but she hasn’t had the exposure she deserves because of it, and the greater world hiding behind her remains a few scraps of paper at the bottom of the desk because of it. Someone asked what I was working on and I said “It’s a story about a doll who…” Instant cut off.

“Sounds like crap. Like Annabelle. Who gives a shit?”

That person then went on to explain how a real good story would involve JFK time-traveling and killing dinosaurs, which really puts in the wheelhouse of “Consider the source,” but that’s never been my specialty. It left a scar, one that I still pick at and worry at, and rub salt into, far more than any of my physical self-mutilation injuries.

One can always go back to “grow thicker skin” commentary. Certainly an option. But that’s not something that magically happens, or makes every previous wound just vanish.

So if any of you out there are close to an author, a painter, a designer, a creative of any stripe, and they start sharing an idea… please, for just a second, pause and consider your response. I’m not saying you can’t be negative… maybe even mean. There are times when we need those things. But there’s a difference between negativity to a bad or malformed idea and offhand dismissal without even knowing the nature of the idea, and the latter is what rankles me and leaves me awake at night, brooding over the grim treasures spawned from such dismissals.

If you have a creative in your life, let them finish their thought. Ask a question or two, if only to give the impression that you were actually listening. Don’t just break out a verbal hammer and crush it straightaway or – worse – throw up a wall and walk away without a thought.

Please.

Like my content? Want to help keep it coming? Drop by my Patreon or GoFundMe! Any support is appreciated!
09
Oct
18

Depression: Lock & Key

Depression is a fascinating feeling. It’s not any one thing, really; it’s a pile of conflicting emotions and responses, finely tuned to subtly twist everything you think or feel, seemingly with the sole intent of making you miserable.

When factored in with a physical malady, such as asthma, that seems intent on doing the same to your body that the depression does to your mind and heart, it leads to all kinds of fun metaphors.

I’ve decided that the duo together are rather like a combination lock. You know, those old Masters or Schlages that were on your locker or bedroom once upon a time. But this is no dinky lock that if you got irritated enough you could just snap off with a pair of pliers and a bit of determination. Nope. It’s one of those two pound monstrosities with an inch-thick hasp. Covered with rust and marred by the tool marks of those who’d tried – and failed – to force it open.

That lock is being used to hold together heavy-duty chain, the gaps threaded with barbed wire so old, gnarled and rusted that you probably could get tetanus just looking at it. It’s wrapped around my chest – extra tight, can’t have those lungs working, can we, buddy? – my throat, my mouth, my eyes, my balls, my brain.

The only thing that feels like it’s free are my hands… but they have a job to do.

Before I can do anything else, before I can try to be a productive member of society, before I can pretend that everything’s okay and today isn’t the day I drive off a cliff or get creative with my dosages, those hands have to twiddle the dial on that bastardly lock and find the combination.

That lock doesn’t want the combination found, though. So it finds all kinds of fun ways to stop you. The dial doesn’t want to turn, and the notches on the face are eroded so you can’t tell if you just turned 35 clockwise or 41 counterclock, assuming you even came close to where you wanted to be. Fine motor control goes out the window when you’re having to exert near-Herculean force to move it an inch in the first place, and the lock is tricksy. It’s stuck… except when it doesn’t want to be.

Maybe it takes an hour. Maybe two. Maybe all damn day. But you can’t do anything else until you find the combination. And the lock is, as I said, tricksy. “You beat me today,” it clicks and clacks out the hole the hasp was plugging a moment ago. “But I’ll still be here tomorrow.”

So I get on with the day, best I can, whatever’s left of it. But come the next, the chains have crept up on me again, wrapping tighter than the day before, the barbs now sharper with everything that didn’t get done the day before. The lock has changed the combination, and maybe even the rules; perhaps it will only have two numbers today, but will have to be spun backwards, or it might be ten digits today and they change every time you miss one.

So when I’m quiet, and haven’t been able to work or write or make snide commentary on trophy lists or do much of anything beyond staring at the television and trying to make sense of the pictures, it’s not laziness, stubbornness or stupidity – though I am sure I am guilty of all three in various measures.

It’s me being busy. Trying to pick locks.

Enjoy my content? Want to help me keep making it? You can, over at GoFundMe and Patreon! Drop by, share a like, or a drop a dollar in the jar if you’re feeling generous. In any case, thank you for reading!
23
Sep
18

Keeping Boats Afloat

“Whatever floats your boat.” It’s a phrase I’m fond of, for no particular reason. It’s frequently spoken slightly dismissively, usually in relation to a habit or endeavor that evokes little or no emotional response in myself but that seems of interest or import to another. Doubly so if it’s an interest or important subject that I don’t understand why it’s important.

Everybody’s out there just doing their thing, living their lives. Frequently the things going on in one person’s life are of no relevance to another. That’s how we get along; doing our best to keep our own boats floating without crashing into someone else’s or letting them ship water onto ours to save their own.

Maybe I’m going too far with the analogy. Oh well.

There’s going to be some whining and begging here, so you are free to skip with no hard feelings. I’m doing my best to get more content up, which isn’t always easy for reasons we’ll delve into in a moment, but hopefully there’ll be some more stuff for fiction, gaming or general horror fans soon.

I’ve had a lot of health problems this year. Severe jaw infection, pneumonia twice, strep, mold infection in the lungs, severe asthmatic beatdown from multiple forest fires, poisoned by algae in the water supply, constant fights with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and now the potential of autism rearing its head. I’m a bloody mess.

None of those things help with writing, obviously; worse, they make it hard if not occasionally impossible to work, which means no money, which means no meds, which exacerbates the problem, compounding it exponentially.

To continue the above metaphor, the boat is springing leaks faster than I can find corks and bail water; drowning becomes an ever-more-realistic prospect… in a more literal way than one would like, given the penchant for lung problems I possess.

So, anyway. That’s why you haven’t seen much of me lately; I’m either lying on the couch staring at a visual novel while hooked up to a nebulizer or scrambling in brief periods of wellness to try to catch up or sleeping off the latest cocktail of medications that will supposedly fix me “any day now.”

I need help. (“So what?” I hear you say, “So does everyone!” I hear you shout.) So I turn here, where there are supposedly roughly 400 people who pay at least some attention to the things I say and do.

First, to each of you that reads this blog, pays attention to my Tweets, watches my videos or has bought or read my books, thank you. Intellectual and moral support by way of the idea that someone, somewhere is paying attention and may even like my stuff matters. Keep at it.

To those of you who’ve been in bad places and crawled out, or take pity on those who are sitting in their mental and physical caves somewhere despite not having been there themselves, or those who’ve drawn some entertainment or inspiration from the things I’ve done, thank you.

To all of them (and anyone not already covered who happens to read this) give me a moment of your time; I have a GoFundMe and a Patreon, both of which are there to help me keep paying for my meds and keep the lights on in those periods where I can’t work. If you feel like it, you can drop by and drop something in the bucket. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dime or a thousand, it’s appreciated and helps. But don’t think this is just a begging drive; sure, cash is great, but there’s less physical ways to show that what I do matters to someone.

A like. A share. A “keep at it, bro” e-mail or Tweet. Something to show that I’m not beating my head against a wall in the hopes that the concrete cracks before my skull and shouldn’t just throw my hands up in the air and walk away or let myself go down with the ship.

Okay, I’m done whinging for now. For those more interested in “real” content, I should have the second chunk of “Three Blue Hearts” up during the coming week, and I’m trying to put something together for Halloween – might be a stream of Death Mark or Call of Cthulhu, might be a livechat, might be something else, suggestions are welcome.

That’s all for now. And don’t forget, go hug your favorite artist or mentally ill person (or both) today. They probably need it.

15
Jul
18

Brain Surgery

I’m crazy. Absolutely batshit. That’s been known for some time, and I’m not one to pretend otherwise, or shy away from admitting it, or worry about what anyone else says about my particular brand of madness. It’s just a fact, as much a part of my makeup as black hair, bad teeth and my asthma.

Being broken that way doesn’t mean useless, though. It’s treatable. Not “fixable” by some standards, but certainly livable. Hell, I muddled through 37 years before having a stable and functional chemical cocktail to keep me running.

But we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you. Yes. You. Someone out there reading this is suffering from mental illness and not doing what they can to treat it. Because nobody bothered to tell me this stuff, I feel the need to say it, on the off chance it helps someone else. So here’s a quick list of things to remember.

1. It’s not your fault. Sometimes the chemicals just don’t work right and that’s not something you can will to be otherwise. Stop blaming yourself.

2. Don’t let other people tell you how to feel or how to deal with it. “Cheer up!” or other platitudes – offered in various levels of exasperation – doesn’t do anything except make you feel worse if you fixate on it. Other people don’t get it unless they’ve been there, and that’s not their fault. Hating on them or hating yourself because you can’t do as they say isn’t going to get you anywhere.

3. Get a psychiatrist. Not a therapist, not a psychologist, not a GP. A head-shrinker who does that and nothing but. Try to find one who specializes in whatever you think you have; if you’re right, they’ll know how to treat it. If you’re wrong, they’ll be the first to notice and offer a referral to someone else.

4. Get two. No, really. A second opinion is always a good idea. Shrinks are just as fallible as anyone else, seeing the world through the lens of their experiences, biases and education. Finding two who agree – at least generally – is a good sign you’re on the right track.

5. Talk to your shrink. Tell them everything. Hiding things, misrepresenting things, or outright lying isn’t helping anyone. Their job is to help you, and they can’t do that if they don’t have all the facts.

6. Take your meds. If they were prescribed to you, you should take them. That means take them as prescribed, when prescribed. Most psychoactive drugs take time to kick in, and need to maintain a presence in the bloodstream to work. Skipping doses or deciding you “feel good” one day and just not taking them is a quick right straight back to where you started.

7. Talk to your shrink. Toying with brain chemicals is more art than science, because everyone’s illness and internal chemistry is different. The first thing they give you may not work. The dosage may be too high or too low. They may need to add something else to it. Stay in touch with the doctor, tell him how each tweak is working (or not working) and adjust accordingly.

I’m sure there’s something else I’m forgetting, but I think that covers most of the bases. If any of you out there have stories you’d like to share, words of encouragement, or other things you think should be on the list, drop them in the box below.

Until next time.




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