Midsummer Update

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I had one hell of a spring and my summer isn’t much improved. I have had a lot of family and personal stress, and on top of that my precious furbaby went to the rainbow bridge in June. Hershey was a huge part of mine and Mr. C’s life. Her passing has been very hard on us both.

hershey

You have no idea how much I miss this face.

I have been dealing with depression. I am trying to get to my writing and reading but I lack the focus. However it is hard to focus with bright sunny days calling to you. Work has been crazy, and I am looking forward to autumn.

We are going away to Hal-con, a comic con in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am super excited to go. I have been before but it has been a few years. I love the fall and I am excited to nerd out, so here is hoping that I am feeling better come my favorite time of year. I am not rushing the summer, though. I am not eager to give up the sunshine and heat.

I hope your summer is great. ūüôā

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Reading And Depression Don’t Always Mix

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Reading and books have been an escape for me for as long as I can remember. No matter what was going on in my life, I could always turn to the soft pages of a good book. I would get lost in other worlds as I became other people.

No matter where I would go, I would have a book in hand. Last summer I would leave for work early so I could go sit by the water with the newest vampire novel, and stay there til the last possible minute.

Lately for me, that isn’t the case. I thought I was ¬†alone until I read an¬†article on depression and reading, over on Book Riot. Once I read it, I felt some relief.Someone out there was feeling the same way as I was.

Last year I talked about dealing with depression. Since then, I have seen my doc and I have been on medication for about five months now. I feel a lot better in a lot of ways, but not when it comes to reading.

It feels like that part of my brain, the part where my love of books and passion for the written word lives, is numb. Like somebody flicked a switch. Now I am trying to flick the switch back. But the fecking thing is stuck.

Not having the…mindset to read is a first for me. I don’t like it. It has also impacted my writing. I am happy knowing that I’m not the only one with this problem, but it is an awful one to have. I need to figure out how to get my reading groove back. Do I wait and hope that the meds will help, like the doctor said? Or is there something else I can do?

If you have dealt with reading and depression (or even writing and depression), comment below.

 

Writing: Getting Back In The Game

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It’s been a while since I sat down to work on a new piece of fiction or edit or finish an old piece. I could list a dozen or two reasons why I haven’t, but they would sound like excuses. Some of my reasons are valid. For¬†example,¬†when I’m in a deep depression, my creative brain is turned off for awhile.

My current problem: I need to shock it back to life.

While I feel a lot better than I have in…well, all year, that creative side of me is still kind of numb and shut off. And doesn’t that just suck?

Some writers have writers block. Others put writing off for one reason or another. And some writers sit every damn day and create something. (If you are that person, I think you are awesome and I hate you, just a tad. But mostly I think you are awesome).

I have been coming up with a game plan. One that will hopefully get the creative juices flowing. Maybe my game plan will help you get through your own writing slump or help you keep the wheels good and greased.

Get Crafty. Or garden. Or paint. Whatever works for you. Luckily for me, with the wedding next year I have a lot to do. I have always loved being creative, and when I am active in one area, it helps me in another.

Get Rid of Clutter. Cleaning your desk or creating your own little writing space can help you focus. No clutter means no distractions. My desk has a lot of distractions that need to be purged.

Be Realistic.¬†If I sit down and decide to write 3000 words a day, I am going to fail. Like, crash and burn. Then I will feel like shit and like I can’t do anything. Boo. With anything, you need to be realistic with your goals. Start small and build on from there.

Remind Yourself Why You Write.  I need to start fresh. I need to do what I did when I was ten years old. Creating odd and wonderful worlds and not caring what anyone thought because this was MY creation. Because I LOVED doing it.

Talk To Your Writing Buddies.¬†Maybe you have one friend who lives in another part of the country that writes. Maybe there is a local writers group nearby. If you have someone, ¬†go for coffee or send them a message. Fellow writers are a great way to gain inspiration. My writers group is fab at giving me a kick in the pants. If you don’t know any writers, then check out online writers groups or ask your local library. (That’s where I found out about The Story Forge, the group I have been going to for the last twelve years).

It might not sound like much of a game plan, but the idea is to keep it simple. Have you ever been in a writing slump? What helped you to get past it?

A Little Of Topic

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When I created this blog, I had intended to use for purely geeky purposes. To talk about my favorite things, to show my newest autograph, make book reviews and more.

There’s something very personal in my life, that I never planned to bring here. It’s something that I don’t really talk about. Recent activities online have brought up some things for me. If others are helping to erase the stigma, then by God, I am going to do my part too. Every small step adds up, right?

I have depression. (Oh, and anxiety/social anxiety, and panic attacks. Awesome, huh? *eye roll*)

And I have had it since I was 16, so half of my life. I go through periods of good, when all is smooth sailing. Then I have periods of darkness, where I either feel major self hate, or numb. Both are awful. Both are nothing but hell.

Actor Jared Padalecki started the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ campaign, helping to bring awareness to mental health and slowly helping to break the stigma. Seeing someone like him, in the spotlight with millions of eyes on him, talk about his own battles made me feel like I am not so alone in this.

A couple of days ago he caused some worry for his legions of fans, myself included, when he tweeted that he had to go home and see his family, and “I need all the love I can get right now. Please give me a few seconds of your time and write me. #AlwaysKeepFighting.”

With so much talk about depression and mental health online lately, and seeing Jared do so much, it made me realize how much I hide my depression.¬†I don’t tell many people about it. I don’t talk to anyone about it when I am going through a rough patch.

Why?

Because of ignorance. I have had shitty comments made to me over the years, which is why I started hiding that part of me. It’s funny how if a physical part of you is broken, people give sympathy or come to try and help you. But if it is something they can’t see, it is a whole other story. They turn their back, either not understanding or not knowing what the hell to do.

I’m not keeping quiet anymore.

I am not a person who should be ashamed or be made to feel bad for something I CAN’T HELP.

If you suffer from depression or another form of mental illness, don’t feel embarrassed. Don’t hide like you have something that is a dirty little secret. I’m no longer hiding. And if someone has an issue with that, if someone can’t deal, then it is their problem, not mine.

And if you don’t have depression, anxiety or whatnot, be careful what you say to others. Educate yourself.

Here are a few things said to me over the years.

“What do you have to be sad about anyway?”

Do¬†you think I like feeling like this? Yes, I have a good life. I’m part business owner of the salon I work in. I’m a published author. I have a loving mother (and father, RIP), a fiance who loves me. I’m healthy, I have friends (not a lot, but I’d rather a small number of loyal friends then a bucket full of fake ones.) Could certain things in my life be better? Sure. But my life is good. That has no bearing on my depression.

“Why can’t you just be happy?”¬†

Do you think I like waking up, feeling ‘numb’ for days and weeks on end? Feeling nothing. Or do you think I like waking up, having what I call a good day, and by noon or the evening my internal frame of mind has taken a complete turn? Feeling good one minute and literally like hell the next? Nobody wakes up and decides to be depressed.

“If you were down why didn’t you just call/email/text?”

Okay so that isn’t exactly a shitty thing, however, odds are of reaching out are slim to none. People who are depressed feel as if they are a burden, myself included. If I was just having a blue day and needed some fun, sure I will get in touch. But if it’s something deeper, I won’t be the one going to you. My inner dialogue? “He/she has their own shit pile, no need to bother them with this.”

“There are people worse off then you.”¬†

Yes, I know that. And thanks for the added guilt, as if I wasn’t feeling shitty enough. Thank you for making me feel bad about something I can’t control.

“Well it could be worse.”

True. But spend ten minutes inside my head during a dark period and maybe you will understand my personal hell.

“You don’t look depressed.”¬†

You don’t look ignorant.

The stigma in regards to mental health needs to stop. If you suffer from something, please get help if you need it. If you don’t suffer from depression, please have some love and compassion for the people in your life who do. You have no idea what another person is thinking or feeling. Please don’t judge. (I think it is safe to say that everyone should follow that golden rule.)

I could say a lot more on the topic, and I probably will another day. These are just some of the random things going through my head the last few days. No matter what you suffer from, you are NOT alone.

Always Keep Fighting.