Hi. I just thought…

…I should check in with people.  This month has seriously derailed from my plans.  Jae broke up with Arr.  It took a while, but he’s finally out of the apartment, too.  The stress of everything that was going on screwed with my sleep and, for a while, my health — I came home from work twice with stomach pains and missed two days of work between them.  Still, it is done now.

The other unexpected event is that we’re moving.  Just to another apartment in the same complex, but it’ll mean going to a downstairs floor.  Since I’ve had issues with stairs due to the tumor screwing with my hormones, that’ll be a big help for me.  And for Jae, who has her own health issues that have made the stairs increasingly difficult over the past few years.

We were pretty fortunate that the apartment community had a place opening up that matched our old one, but with a better placement.  And that it happened just in time for our old lease to run out, and that they agreed to let us rent the new place without having to give up our prior rental rate.

On the other hand: Packing.  Boxes.  My life has involved a lot of packing, boxes, and playing Starbound for escapism and stress recovery.  I do have part of the next chapter (maybe 1/4) written, but my attempt at getting a daily writing time going again totally fell apart.  And I’m not even all that vexed about it, because a lot of stuff ‘fell apart’ recently.

I’m going to put together another big push for a regular writing time slot after we finish moving to the new place.  That’ll be the soonest I can think of that my schedule should open up a bit, which is going to be early August.  Until then, I’ll do what I can when I can.  (I feel like that’s become my motto ever since POTUS 45 was elected: Do what you can, when you can.)

Oh, and right as everything with Arr was going on I started talking to an agent about MNML and Et Alia.  They represent a sort of independent publisher — basically, they know more about self publishing than I do and are willing to put a book through it in exchange for a portion of the revenue.

I’ll have to make time to look over a contract after they’ve taken time to look over the submitted manuscripts, but if it works out (and fingers crossed it will) that’d be cool: I haven’t had the time to convert some of the books to ebooks, and their agency will not only take over ebook publishing and marketing, but they’ll also get the books set up with a print on demand service and an audio book.  I’ve wanted a MNML audio book for years — I’ve just been too self conscious of my own voice to do the recording myself.  (And lacked the time to do the recording, and to get proficient with the software, and etc etc etc.)

On a somewhat related note, Jae has almost finished reading through the entire series doing spelling and grammar edits.  o.O  She was right at the start of book 6, last we’d talked.  So if anyone ever wanders through the archives again: here’s a shout out to her for any quality improvements you find.

Um.  I think that’s everything I’ve got going on right now.  I hope everyone who reads has been well.  And here’s to keeping positive (when that’s possible) and just generally doing what you can when you can.

Today, in the life of Eren...

June 20, 2017 (T)

I’m pretty tired, but that seems to be an every day low price.  I’m pretty sure that the medication my endocrinologist halved (the one used to regulate the tumor) needs to go back to it’s prior dosage.  I need to see about getting that transfered to a different doctor, and up to it’s prior level.  I strongly suspect that will help.

Of course, there’s a lot of other stuff going on that has been adding to the strain.  Jae broke up with Arr, which has been stressful for everyone in our group.  He should be moving out at the end of next week; maybe sooner if he opts to move in temporarily with a friend.

On top of that, we’re reaching the end of our lease, and this time Ess, Jae and I have opted to request a transfer of apartments.  The new one will be on the first floor, of another building in the same complex.  Same rent and all, but Jae and I both have problems with stairs sometimes — she because of her knee, and me because of the weakness/exhaustion that comes from my tumor and, sometimes, the medications that treat it.

So, being on the first floor will be convenient.  Hopefully it will be cooler, too: right now our apartment bakes in the summer months, mostly (as far as we’ve been able to figure out after having multiple people look at it) because the sun heats up the roof to a point that the A/C can’t keep up with the heat transfer.

The apartment will be the same size as the current one, but Arr moving out will free up an entire room.  It’s probably going to become a communal craft/study/computer room, but that’ll make things much less cramped elsewhere.  (We have desks in every room of the apartment, currently.  Mine is in the kitchen.)  I think I’m more excited about that than anything else related to the move.  But mostly I’m tired, and worried that I’m not pulling (or won’t be able to pull) my weight with the packing.

Tempers have gotten short and flared (unexpectedly, that didn’t involve Arr.  It was  a combination of the emotional stress, physical stress, and heat).  We bounced back from that quickly, though.

I want to write, but I keep getting overwhelmed by the prospect of getting into Abby’s headspace.  It’s emotionally taxing, and getting up the oomph to put myself through that — even knowing that I love to do it, and that I will be happy with the product — takes energy that I haven’t had for the last week or so.  It’s work, and I have something like three jobs now.  The cubicle work, writing (which I’m not being very productive with at the moment) and some independent programing (which I’m also being less productive with at the moment — but moreso than I am with the writing because programing doesn’t have the emotional cost associated with it).

I’m not sure what my motivation in writing this is.  I guess I just wanted to let people know that I’m still around; still trying to get myself back on track.  I think my writing really derailed in regularity about when the tumor became a factor in my life.  I’ve had a couple bouts of pretty bad depression since then, one fairly recent.  Things feel like more of a struggle, but really it’s that I don’t have the energy to meet my previous standards.  That’s hard to accept and adapt to.  I’m reverting to a pattern of ups and downs because when I’m up, I push too hard and crash.

Right now I’m on an upswing again.  It’s a shallower curve than normal, because (I think) of the reduced medication and thus reduced stamina.  And what energy I do have is mostly going into preparing to move and providing support for Ess and Jae.

I’ve been telling myself I need to write more, but I think something will have to change first.  Either I get some energy back by getting my medication fixed, or we finish packing for the move.  Or maybe even if Arr moves out, there’ll be less emotional strain around and I’ll have more of the capacity to get into Abby-Space.  And that’s not going to happen any time super soon.

Arr is planning on moving out next Friday.  He’s trying to get his job transfered, so if that works out then he should be leaving then.  If it’s delayed, he may have to stay longer — or possibly move in with his friend.  He might move in with his friend sooner, too, if he finds out for certain the transfer is going to be delayed.

The apartment move should be in mid-August.  So there’s some time before that becomes a thing, during which we’ll be doing a lot of packing.  From past experience, it feels like there’s always something left to be boxed up until everything is actually out of the old place.  So that’ll be a way out, too.

My medications…  I’m not sure how long that will be.  I need to get together the fortitude to contact my doctors about them.  I despise talking to this endocrinologist.  I have not interacted with her office once without being deadnamed.  She refered to me as ‘an interesting case study’ because of the way the tumor interacts with my transition medications (basically, eliminating my need for testosterone blockers/inhibitors — in fact, if the tumor isn’t treated properly my body makes so little testosterone it is unhealthy in a woman.  And I physically collapse after mild labor like climbing a flight of stairs.)

It’s amazing that this endocrinologist knew of a medication that I could use without the even worse exhaustion side-effect the standard treatment for this condition gave me, but I have absolutely no confidence that she cares about my well being.  The last time I talked to her, she brought in a blood report, told me everything looked fine — and I had to remind her that the report she was looking at was six months old, because I hadn’t been in for that long.  then she signed me up to have my blood taken, and cut my doseage in half so that the next time I came in she could evaluate if I even needed as much as I was on.

I really hope I can transfer the prescription to my actual clinic, and convince them to go back to the old dosage.  Which ever office I deal with, though, I need the oomph to do it, first.

Anyway, I can tell I’m going in circles now.  So I guess I’m going to call it and end things here.

Take care.  Be safe, happy and well, everyone.

–Eren Reverie

Today, in the life of Eren...

Holy crap! (Not bad stuff this time.)

I know I’ve had crappy, depressed posts in here for a while.  Well, last night one of my friends took me out.  To a burlesque show.  And it was amazing!  Like: “stripping for nerds” is both an accurate description and utterly falls short of describing it.  It was extremely lgbt positive, sex positive, and just: holy crap!

It was really cool.  We were of past midnight and we still weren’t there late enough for the last set.  There were a bunch of aerial acts, which I wouldn’t have believed if I’d just heard someone describe.  Wow.

Anyway.  It was a good show and a fun evening out, and I really needed that.

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Help?

I was asked how readers could help me keep MNML going, and the answer sort of snowballed into something that would be more appropriate as a journal post than a comment reply.  So here it is:

I really wish I knew. Comments help. Reviews help (well, positive ones do, heh.) When I was writing 3+ chapters a week I could handle the pressure of feeling obligated to produce that much content. These days I don’t have any specified posting days. That definitely has a negative impact on my productivity — but I’m not entirely certain I could keep to a schedule even if it was just one post a week.

Right now it seems like the three biggest obstacles I have to writing more are finances, time scarcity, and self-doubt.

Finances seem like a silly reason to not write — how is that a factor, right? But the fact is that I’m under a lot of pressure to continue providing for my family group. My day job takes nine hours out of every day. These are high stress hours that leave me emotionally depleted from the effort of forcing myself to do as much as I can — which has been steadily declining, as the job itself is a dead end. Attempts to look for work elsewhere always end up being paralyzed with fear that I can’t do the work, fear that someone will take exception to my being transgender; fear that I will somehow not make it in the new position and not be able to go back to my old one, which would screw us financially. And, of course, depression over the fact that none of the other jobs I can find are remotely related to things that I actually want to do with my life, and so I suspect they would eventually devolve to the same situation I’m in now.

Time is the second major factor against my writing more. I don’t have enough. I spend nine hours at the day job. I have to go to bed at a set time because I have to take sleeping pills just to sleep most nights; if I don’t have a long enough window after that I’m exhausted for the next day. If I do get enough sleep, I’m exhausted for the morning, anyway. My medication for the tumor was adjusted downward at my last doctor’s appointment, and I suspect this has been contributing to my lack of energy again. The upshot is that I typically have four hours a day available to myself, from when I get home until when I should be medicating myself so I can sleep. One of those hours typically goes to family and dinner. The preceding hour is usually spent laying on a bed or couch, trying to let go of the work day. The last two have been going to excessive escapist reading, lately.  Or sometimes to some game development, since that is similarly creative/escapist like writing but doesn’t require the same sort of emotional creativity. And two nights out of the week I have standing commitments that occupy the entire evening., and some evenings have protest events which, provided I have the emotional and mental and physical wherewithal, I attend because POUTUS 45 and the republican regime is a nightmare.

Basically, I don’t feel like I have the time (while having energy and motivation) to accomplish anything of meaning for myself.  Weekends I typically spend the mornings at work, making up hours that I had to take for doctors’ or therapy appointments.  The afternoons/evenings go to my weekly visit with my one friend outside of our apartment community, escapism, or to attending political protest events.

Which brings me to the third leg of this stool of “sitting my ass down and doing nothing:” self-doubt.

I have a lot of it.  Always have.  I grew up with the messages “You can do anything” and “there’s always someone better than you” from school, and “everyone else is stupid” and “you need to be better than everyone else” at home.  My folks were and are emotionally absent elitists.  They provided for me physically, and they did whatever was necessary to keep up appearances of a healthy family — but it was always about appearances.

Seriously: once, after someone had confessed to a group of us about an difficult time they were having, Dad told us kids “If someone needs help; asks for help, you have to understand that and do your best to give it to them.  But don’t you ever do what he just did and make your problems be someone else’s.”

The appearance of perfection was all that mattered when I was growing up.  And I absorbed that the way Abby absorbed rabid timberwolves and helpless bunnies.  It was bad enough that the fear of failure crippled me physically — when I finished my first book, Aaranox, I was unable to submit it for publication out of fear of rejection.  I mean: I wrote the cover letter.  Got the envelope; the self addressed one for replies.  Had the address and postage on.  And couldn’t carry it out of my room to put in the outgoing mail.  I wound up curled up on the floor, wretching and sobbing, when I tried because any rejection — any failure — meant that I couldn’t write at all and I couldn’t afford to risk giving that up by trying.

I still have that manuscript.  In it’s envelope, addressed and stamped.  It still makes me nauseous every time I come across it.

This idea, that being rejected by an editor — someone who’s job is to determine who is or isn’t worthy of publication — would mean the end of my hopes to be an author, is why I went the online publication route.  There were other factors as well: I genuinely want to make people’s lives better through entertainment, and I want my work to be available to people regardless of whether or not they can afford to buy it.  I’m not very mercenary — hell, I’m not really capitalist.  But that fear was the big one.

Since then I’ve gotten on medication for the anxiety.  I could probably actually submit to a traditional publisher — but I’ve become rather invested in the indie route as a matter of philosophy.  I do want my work to be freely available to people, regardless of their current financial state.  Shoot: having been in desperate need of entertainment and unable to afford it, I’ve gone ravenously through web-lit myself.

I’d like to start a second series, written specifically so that I could submit it to Kindle Unlimited.  That’s about as far as I’m willing to compromise on the “freely available/getting paid for it” scale.  I would ideally keep at least one active series that was completely free online, and then have the rest qualify for Kindle Unlimited.  That seems to be the most financially viable route without abandoning my promises to keep MNML up for free or my moral imperative to provide something for people regardless of what I get back for it, with the understanding that not being able to afford access to something doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have it.

Anyway, I got a little side tracked there.  My point is: I’m on medication for the anxiety, and that works rather well.  But my original therapist didn’t really follow up past that.  The symptoms were gone, so she didn’t bother addressing the sources.  And all of that emotional history has resulted in more snarls than just anxiety: such as my ongoing (and at times just as crippling) feelings of inadequacy, imposter syndrome, and simple futility.

I’m not hit with anxiety attacks (most of the time) when I try to write, or plan time for writing, or post to RRL.  Instead, it’s more of a constant narrative of “what’s the point of this?”  “Other stories are better.”  “Why bother?  You’re just going to be too tired to keep up with it later.”

“What’s the point?” is the big question.  I can’t shake it.  It’s always followed by some sort of negative statement: “What’s the point?  You’ll never make a living off this.”  “What’s the point?  No one really cares how this ends.”  “What’s the point?  You could be working on something real.”  “What’s the point?  You aren’t making money like this.”  “What’s the point?  You’re just another vampire hack.”  “What’s the point? Anyone could do better than this.”  “What’s the point?  This story doesn’t even make sense.”  “What’s the point?  You don’t even have time to finish a chapter right now.”

And on and on and on.  One or two might actually be vocalized in my thoughts, but all of the negativity is there.  It’s like I think: “I should write the next chapter,” and then I run face first into a giant plexiglass wall of self doubt and derision.  I had that under better control when I was writing regularly.  I had a history I could point out to myself and say: “no, see: I’ve finished a book.  Two books.  Three.  Four.  Five!”  Now, though, that’s derailed.  And I find myself thinking: “What’s the point?  I’m just going to spaz out and disappoint everyone again by leaving them hanging.”

The “What’s the point?” question is particularly devastating at my day job because I don’t care about the product anymore, the company treats me like a cog, I’m at the end of my promotion chain and I already know that the merit raise system is stacked to reduce the raises of anyone who earns more than the average for their position (ie, anyone who has consistently gotten merit raises in the past, like me.)  So, I try to make myself work and wind up staring at the screen thinking “what’s the point?”  Even though I know that we need the paycheck and the insurance to keep on with life.

When I was writing regularly, the equally regular comments from readers kept me excited and invested.  I wanted to write more so I could post more, so I could read more comments and get that vicarious sense of my own work — and that warmth of knowing that I’d made something that people liked.  I think my first writing project (predating MNML and Et Alia) failed because I had comments turned off because I was afraid of criticism — and so I missed out on the positive feedback that kept me going back when I was posting 3+ chapters a week.

I’m in therapy again, but so far I haven’t really been clicking with this therapist.  I’ve had a few good sessions, where I’ve figured things out about myself and things I hadn’t been admitting until I said them out loud — but she’s more introspection oriented, and what I really need are the practicals.

I’ve mentioned it before: Abby’s history of self harm in MNML is based off of my own.  Self harm was the only strategy I had that could give me a grip on the combination of my anxiety and my self derision.  I promised Jae to stop harming myself, and medication took care of the anxiety for the most part — but I have no idea how to cope with things in the absence of the option of self harm.  Getting flogged by a dom I can trust to know where the line between catharsis and harm is helps, but I have a shortage of people I can go to for that — and it feels really weird to ask someone I don’t already have the right sort of emotional relationship with  to help me like that.

The bigger problem, then, is that in the absence of a partner who can let me engage in a physical catharsis safely, I don’t have a way to deal with the negativity on my own.  Or at least, I haven’t developed anything into a reliable tool.  Most of the awareness and calming exercises I do know are geared toward helping reduce immediate stress and anxiety.  Not so much toward self-doubt, internalized pessimism (mind you: I’m optimistic about life.  I anticipate that any bad situation will work itself out, eventually.  I’m a pessimist when it comes to the value of my contribution, or of myself) and general negativity.

I guess that’s where I’m at.  I need better ways to deal with my emotions.  Especially the whole active absence of confidence (what is the word for it?  It’s not lack of confidence: it’s actively tearing yourself down) and low self-esteem and high personal negativity.  If you have any recommendations: tips, techniques, recommendable self-help books, articles, friendly sadists/doms in the Saint Louis area; whatever — please feel free to email them to me or comment them below.

Thanks for listening,

–Eren

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Recovering from a cold.

Today is the first day in I don’t even remember how long (Two weeks, a little longer, I think?  When was that panic attack — I was bedbound by the end of that week.) that I haven’t been congested.  I still have a little bit of a sniffle, but for the most part I can breath through my nose again!

While I was sick I wrote a “chapter” of MNML — but I also ended up scrapping most of it as being just pointless filler babble.  I am seriously out of practice with my craft, and I’m worried it’s going to show in the quality of whatever I write now — but I’ve got to write something in order to get that momentum built back up.  I might just have to aim for “acceptable” and hope I can make up for it as the rust gets brushed off.

Being sick gave me a lot of time to think about things without having the energy to do anything about them.  ~_~  Which just sort of enforced more thinking.  I’m a little on the introspective side by nature, and when I’m in a depressed spiral that’s a really nasty trait.  In this case, I managed to avoid most of the depression-doom-and-gloom stuff, though.  Literally worrying myself sick turned into something of a wakeup call.

I need to be handling my stressors better.  A lot better.

I wish I knew how — adulting is so damn hard.  How do other people make it look so easy?  I wish I knew.

I’m going to try to be more aware of my limits and when I’m approaching them.  I’ve started feeling numb about POTUS 45 et al.  I despise everything they’re trying to do.  I want them gone.  But the deluge of shit has worn me down to the point of panic attacks, nervous collapse and physical illness.  I can’t keep investing like that.

So.  Do the things.  Contact the congress critters.  Make it to the protests.  Somehow care less.  I don’t even know how that’s supposed to work. :/  I guess being emotionally burnt out helps there?

I’ve been doing a lot of programing at home lately.  It’s simple work, and it doesn’t require the same level of creativity and emotional investment that writing does.  It’s served as my go-to escapism, pretty much since Hiatus Kitty passed away.  I’ve actually made a fully playable, decently featured game.  I may just put a donation button on it and release it to the google play store.  Unfortunately, that’s also time that I could have spent writing — except not really, because of the whole emotional energy requirements.

I’m tired, a lot.  I’m taking a sleeping pill to make sure I actually rest at night.  Because I’ve had those recent despair spirals I’ve asked Arr to hold on to the bottle for me.  When I was suicidally depressed, I realized that overdosing on pills would probably be the way I would end things, since I’m too squeamish for cutting and too scared of surviving a fall to try jumping.  I’m not suicidal, but I’m worried enough about slipping further to take precautions.

Work is work.  I am not happy there.  It has become this place where I spend nine hours a day, vexed that I could be doing something more meaningful as I try to force myself to do tasks that I find neither joy nor pride nor purpose in preforming.   I get no sense of personal improvement or mastery from the programing — the R&D department head has made it quite clear that I don’t qualify as a programmer (and never mind that my scripts are in daily use by everyone in our division).  There’s no avenue for advancement unless I opt to go into management, which I don’t think I could stomach with my social anxiety.  My annual merit raise has been being docked because I already earn more than the average for my job title — which just makes me less inclined to work, because why work harder for less of a raise?  This company’s policy on raises literally punishes people who consistently perform above average by instituting diminishing returns.  And the non-programming work is busy work to me.  It doesn’t employ any of my skills, just my time.  Anyone could do it.

I want to quit.  I am extremely dissatisfied with the lack of opportunity for advancement, the stifling reward policies, and the whole corporate culture.  It makes me disgusted that so much of my time is being sunk into enriching some CEO.  And I hate coming home too mentally fatigued to do any of the things that I would actually like to do with my life.

Work is quite possibly the hardest part of my life.  It is demoralizing.  It is an energy sink.  And I don’t know what to do about it, because I need enough income to support myself and Jae and Ess and Arr, and I need health insurance if I want to keep getting the treatments that let me have the energy to do anything at all.

I’m not even certain that another job would be the answer, though, because at this point I feel burnt out on the whole eight to five grind.  Like, I am literally forcing myself to come into the office in the mornings.  I have an alarm for when I need to get up and get ready, and another one for when I’m supposed to head over to Shae’s to carpool.  And it takes me from when the first alarm goes off to when the second alarm goes off for me to convince myself to get out of bed.  Then it’s just throw on clothes and run to Shae’s apartment.  This morning I literally yelled at myself — out loud — that I had to get out of bed.

I just don’t care.  I have no fucks to give about work.  I’m not invested in the company, in my team, in my contributions or in the end products of our labor.  This is just where I come to die inside for nine hours a weekday.

That’s probably my biggest problem right now.  Making myself try — and often failing to succeed — to do work that I don’t care about in any way is demoralizing.  And the energy I spend trying to force myself to “buckle down” and “work” is energy that I would much rather spend elsewhere — except it’s gone, now.  I come home and all I want to do most evenings is go to sleep.  Sometimes I feel like I’m only forcing myself to stay awake until dinner so that I can sleep through the night if I take a pill afterwards.

And I don’t want to be this person!  The sheer negativity of everything I’ve been writing about — I don’t want that to be my defining characteristic.  My default mood.  It’s all so pessimistic and depressive.  I want my journal entries to be about stuff like starting a new series, or books I’ve read recently, or cool events I’ve attended in the city, or how many chapters I’ve got queued up to publish, or going on a date with Jae — things like that.  Positive things.  Things that I’d write about (I assume) if I were a healthy, happy, normal-ish person.

Ugh.  I am so disappointed in myself.  Just: Ugh.

Uncategorized

hi

I’m really depressed this morning.  I’ve been doing better, but today I had a panic attack trying to make myself get ready for work, and then a few sobbing despair fits, and then another oanic attack because my tablet chimed.  Nothing mire than that for the second one: just a chime b/c of my reminder to call in refills, but it left me hyperventilating.

I feel completely overwhelmed and helpless by the political situation, the rise in hate crimes; POTUS 45’s proposed budget, the AHCA’s potential impact…. everything.  I’ve been indulging in pretty hardcore escapism since our cat passed away, so maybe it was just everything catching up by surprise.  Or maybe building up?  More police violence, only now it isn’t being reported as widely b/c of the Republican shitshow.  More transwomen being attacked, but for some reason the poloticians in power still insist that we are the aggressors; that we are perverts and pedophiles.  More laws being passed that make it criminal for us to use a public restroom.

I was always given a narrative of individual action.  So even though I kniow that I can only exact chqnge by acting in support of a larger movement, it feels like I’m doing nothing — which makes it feel like nothing is being done, and it will all just keep getting worse.  I know that’s not how reality works, but I struggle to hold onto that knowledge when I’m despairing.

i feel like so very little of my life and my actions matter.

I’ve been struggling with ideation of self harm.  I haven’t done anything, but this morning — and a few other times in the past few months, but this morning was really bad — I’ve had to struggle to keep my promise to Jae that I won’t actively hurt myself.  This morning I couldn’t get the idea of cutting out of my head.  Ironically, given MNML, blood freaks me out.  I’ve never deliberately cut myself, even when I was actively using self harm as a stress relief.  I think that it’s a bad sign that I’ve been thinking about it now.  I have therapy on Friday, so I’m going to talk about it, and self harm, and coping mechanisms then.  But I’m more thqn a little freaked that I was trying to convince mysekf to get ready for wirk, and part of me responded with: or I could just get that ceramic paring knife we never use and slice up my thighs so I have a real pain to deal with instead of this “I’m depressed” bullshit.

Mind you: I know it isn’t bullshit.  Depression and despair spirals are an extremely serious problem that many people suffer with, and that are still delegitimized by ableist narratives. But depression-brain doesn’t tell me the truth when it’s trying to convince me to do things.

Work is becoming this sort of hell on earth for me.  It isn’t even the labor itaself, which can get a little meditative in it’s simpke repetitiveness if I just keep my mind from, you know, thinking about anything for the nine hours a day that I’m there.

It’s the rest of it.  The corporate culture.  All the struggling I’ve had with getting a job title that matches my responcibilities.  All the empty cubicles (I’ve now been kept on through tthree bulk layoffs.)  The crap policies about pay, raises, and promotion.  (I’ve had a manager tell me to my face thqat I’m underpqid, which is why I still have a job when everyone was being laid off and why the layoffs didn’t happen sooner.  I’ve also had a manager tell me that my mwrit raise qwas being reduced because I was alrewady earning more than the average for a person in my position.)  It’s the exploitation, and the uncaringness, and the certainty that I am contributing to some CEO’s overinflated salary — and the feeling of bei g a cog in an unfeeling, abusive machine.  It’s the feeling trapped, b/c we need the insurance.  If I fall off insurance now, will I even be eligible to resume treatment for my tumor in the future, or will it be a “pre-existing condition” thanks to TriumpCare?  Not to even mention Jae’s medical bills, or my anxiety meds and doctor’s visits (visits I haven’t been making for a while, anyway, so oh well).

I used to at least entertain the idea that I coukld get on the ACA if I ever had the oprotunity to worjk for myself.  Now?  Looks like writing will never be more than a hobby and I can’t afford to ever be jobless or I’ll lose what nedical treatment I can get, now.  (insurance has nevwer been willing to cover my estrogen.  I’ve aklways had to remind the pharmacy that I bought into their afforedable medications plan, b/c whenever the prescription needs renewed I’m told it’s on hold b/c the insurance company is contesting it.)

I’m stuck working in a situation I’ve become opposed to on moral grounds, and it is grinding me down.  And I still feel mlike I have to write, or sell android apps, or something because this shit job that I’m giving up my happiness for doesn’t pay enough to cover rent, groceries, healthcare and our cat dying.  Like: if it weren’t for donations and my girlfriend helping us out, we wouldn’t have been able to even try getting Hiatus Kitty any kind of treatment — we would’ve just had to wait for her to starve to death at home.  Even before that, we were going paycheck to paycheck.

I feel like I’m selling my life for health insurance.  I’m giving up what energy I have in order to get money for medications so we can keep living a life that’s miserable because all i have energy to do is work that makes me miserable so that I can afford medications to keep living a life thqt makes me miserable… ad nauseum.

I wonder at times if it’s even worth it.  If it wqs just me, I might make the call to give it up.  If I leave th tumor untreated, I’ll jist be more exhausted for certain — it may not turn into anything life threatening.  Or it might.  Roll the fucking dice.  But it isn’t just me, and if I were that exhausted again I’d just be living life for the sake of living life.  Same as now.  Hiw is that worth it?  At least this way some of the shittiness has a purpose beyond keeping me fed.

but I’m still just…. it’s despair. every day i have to go into work i’m acknowledging that i’ve given up on my dreams and passions, because I won’t have the energy to do anything else with my day, and I’ll be emotionalky shattered by the weekend to the point that Im just trying to pull myself together enough to start the cycke ovwr again on monday — assuming I’m not working the weekend to make up hours because I’ve had a collapse like this and called in, or had to go home for a family emergency, or had to schedule off for another doctor’s apointment.

so thats where i’m at right now.  I’ve writen half a chapter since the last one went up. fuck, im crying about that now.  i used to wruite so much and niw i can’t even

what is thew fucking point?

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I have a toothache…

…which sucks, since I can’t really afford to do anything about it right now.  My sister has offered to help financially, which will help.  sighs  It’s one of the many things I’ve neglected while spiraling, but now that it actually hurts I can’t keep putting off treatment.  And that’s my only update for now because tooth pain is damn distracting.

Take care, everyone.  Preferably better care than I do!

Today, in the life of Eren...

I do not feel well…

…and I don’t just mean physically.  Like: I’m not sick (or at least, not sicker: I still have a tumor, it’s still screwing with my hormones; I still wear out far faster than I should.  That’s a forever thing).  But I’m tired.  I’m sore and I’m stiff.  I’ve been going to marches and rallies, at least one a week.  I’ve been writing my senators and representatives.  I’ve been trying to keep up with the news, and cross-referencing pretty much every article I read to see if it’s being reported in more than one place as a test for legitimacy.

I’m tired.  I’m depressed.  I ache, and one night of bad sleep will screw me up for an entire day.  I take sleeping pills now.  Over the past year my anxiety medication has doubled.  On good days, I can actively engage for a couple of hours.  Maybe four if I really push myself, but then I’m wiped out for the next one.  On bad days I don’t manage to do anything except read and maybe cry.  On really bad days I just sort of shut down until and unless I’m required to interact with someone.

Today, I really want to shut down.  I want to sleep for another four hours.  I’ve extended my work day so that I can actually have two hours of un-paid time within the day for sleeping, because otherwise I can’t make it through.  I still have trouble, because these days instead of sleeping I get swept up with checking news feeds.

I have a proclivity toward adictive behaviours — particularly, in the past, escapist ones.  Now that obsessive need is being turned on pulling in all of the news from all of the sources to try and suss out what is real and what is fake and what is under reported and what is going to happen next.  It has gone from keeping informed to being immersed, and it takes a toll I can’t really afford to be constantly paying.

I’ve written a little.  I have about 1/2 of the next MNML chapter written.  Most of that is from days when I left my tablet at home and couldn’t obsessively check the news.

I’m terrified of what is going on in my country’s government.  Terrified.  And with that major stuff going on, there’s so much littler stuff that’s slipping through at the edges; not getting attention.  In my state there are already two bills present — one in the house and one in the senate — designed to keep transgender people out of public restrooms.  One goes further, specifying that schools cannot acknowledge a student as transgender at all, even to permit ‘alternative’ restrooms and changing facilities, without a parent’s statement.  There are cases where coming out at home isn’t safe.  I never would have been able to get that statement from my parents: I couldn’t even bring myself to risk talking to them about it until I’d moved out — changed states — and they no longer had the ability to exert control over me.

But what does that matter next to the Muslim Ban?  The Bowling Green (fictional) Massacre and everything it shows so clearly about the Trump administration’s willingness to lie?  “Alternative Facts?”  Steve Bannon, a white supremecist who admires the power weilded by individuals such as Darth Vader and Satan and has admitted that he is a Lennonist with the goal of destroying the government, being given a seat at the National Security Council?  Every government agency in existance making an alternate twitter account, just in case they too get formal instructions to shut down their official communication channels to the American people?  The pipeline being approved to go through at Standing Rock?  The Election Assistance Commission, which is the only agency that certifies voting machines and systems are reliable, being voted out of existance?  Incompetents like Betsy DeVos buying their way into cabinet positions?

And it’s not like police brutality has stopped being a thing.  The cops are still militarizing — there are two meassures on my next city ordinance agenda that pertain to the police chief’s requests to aquire additional surplus military equiptment.  But it’s being overshadowed by all the other shit that’s going on, too.  And on top of that, there are people trying to create legislation banning protests.

There’s a measure in our house that would make it a felony for anyone to pass a police controled intersection in the event of a “riot” among other emergencies.  Sounds reasonable, until you realize that it gives the cops the ability to decide what constitutes one of those emergencies and any protest with predominantely minority organizers has been and will be labeled a “riot” by them.  We’ve already had protestors who weren’t even in the streets — protestors resting at their place of organizing — be tear gassed without reason.  That bill is an excuse to put a mandatory minimum felony conviction on anyone who’s protests go past where the cops are willing to let them go.  The system was fucked up from the inside out, and now the legislative branch is trying to give new tools to increase that shit’s influence.

And I can go on, and on, and on — except it’s exhausting.

I’m so tired.

A long, long time ago I realized that my ability to manage depression is closely tied to how tired I am.  Most of the times I’ve had breakdowns in the past few years, I’ve been exhausted.  The two times I’ve gotten into a screaming arguement, it wasn’t because I didn’t see a way to go forward politley — it was because I was so exhausted all I wanted was for the fighting to stop right now so I could sleep.

I sleep a lot these days.  It’s a sign of depression, I know, but it’s also related to the whole tumor and screwed up hormones and all the different medications I take to deal with that, and my anxiety-induced insomnia and the pills I take so I can sleep through a night — and the fact that I have a sleep defecit that lasts for days if I ever stay up too late to take those pills and still make it in to work.

I just…  I feel so overwhelmed.  And even though I realize that as an individual the only difference I’m likely to make is through adding my voice to a group’s pushing for the same change, and even though I do that — it’s disheartening.  I still feel helpless and ineffective.  And it takes everythiing I’ve got out of me, so when I look at my writing, or work, or any of the things I would normaly spend my time on, I feel incompetent, too.  Because I’m simply not performing like I used to.  I’m not even doing as much as I was through all the different meds we tried with the tumor, because now I’m dealing with politics on top of that.  A lot of the time, I’m not doing anything.

I feel really shitty, a lot of the time.

I’m trying to focus on positive things when I can, but I’m struggling just to keep track of everything I need to do for my personal life and everything I need to do because of civic responcibility, and everything I need to do to support and provide for my family.

I’ve broken down at least once in the past two weeks over each of those things.

I’m sorry.  I don’t know when I’ll get the next chapter of MNML up.  i don’t know when I’ll be able to let writing fiction be a significant part of my life.  i just. i feel like im letting go of my calling. but i wont survive if i spend time on that instead of trying to fix everything else thats wrong

so im really, really sorry.

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I’m a switch…

…and I’ve been feeling pretty masochistic/subby lately.  It’s a depression thing.  On the one hand, I’m incredibly angry and rather agressive regarding the bullshit polotics going on in the USA.  On the other, I am so fucking depressed about the same damn topic.  In conjunction with each other, I end up emotionally wrung out and apathetic about all the smaller, personal things I should be taking care of: from my writing to house chores to eating properly and keeping on top of my doctor’s appointments.

I could really use a flogging to take my mind off all of it for a while and help me de-stress, but I don’t actually have the slightest idea how to go about arranging that these days.  The people I would normally ask are dealing with their own stuff, and I’m pretty much craptastic at reaching out to new people — plus, I think I’m sensibly leery of aproaching someone new on this subject in particular.

Bleeeeeeh!  I wish I had better ways to relieve stress, but this is still the top one for me.  I don’t engage in self-flagellation because I know I can’t reliably tell when I’m crossing the line between masochism and sadism; when it goes from de-stressing to punishing, so having someone else who can and will take a moment to check that I’m okay — or even say ‘that’s enough’ is a safety thing.  But still:  I could <em>really</em> use it right about now.

Also, the weather here is drunk and I think I have a migraine coming on. :/

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I feel better…

…than I have in what seems like months.

Last week I finally managed to decafinate.  And by ‘finally manage’ I mean that when the ice storms hit and the weather got drunk, I had migraines so bad that I didn’t remember to drink tea or ask Arr to get any other caffinated beverages — and I was too busy being in pain to think about it, anyway.

At some point weather-related migraines and caffiene-withdrawl migraines probably doubled up, but you know what:  The Worst Head Pain Ever times The Head Worst Pain Ever still just equals The Worst Head Pain Ever, so I didn’t notice.

I’ve had mild weather related headaches since then, and that’s likely to continue.  (Seriously, the weather here is drunk.  It can’t decide if it is winter or spring.)  But in the lulls where my head doesn’t hurt, I feel practically normal.

That has been a long time in coming.  Yesterday, durring a mild headache, I happily did the outlines for the next three chapters of MNML and some brainstorming for the fourth (A Jamie side chapter, perhaps?).  I couldn’t bring myself to actually start writing because, well, my head hurt and I find it difficult to make myself go that deep into being creative when I’m in pain.  But I have high hopes for today.

I read an article recently that posited that motivation happens when you have both a goal and a plan that your subconcious accepts as capable of success.  I think there might be something to that idea, because I’ve recently scrapped my usual plan of ‘make yourself write every day’ — I know that eventually I will derail on that and then I’ll go into a funk because I ‘failed,’ even though there are plenty of reasons (I have a freaking energy-sapping tumor, for God’s sake!  Plus, you know: Trump needs to be protested, my family needs to be supported, there is all kinds of suffering in the world that needs to be dealt with and pretty much all of it is more immediate or more vital than my getting some writing time in — and leaves me too drained to do any writing, after) to slip up for a day.

Instead, I’m focusing on a plan that I can genuinely believe is workable, without that constant low level nag of ‘this has always come apart, eventually, in the past.’  And that ‘plan’ is to focus more on what I’m capable of in the moment.  If my head hurts or I’m tired or I’m too worn out to get into my writing headspace, I’m going to try to outline the next few chapters so that when I do get to them, they are easier to write.

I don’t think I’ll outline more than a few chapters ahead other than very broad ‘this is where the story is going’ notes, though, because my characters have a tendancy to hijack things in the moment. >.>

Anyway, I wanted to share that bit of good personal news, because I know that a lot of what I’ve had to express lately has been negative, and I know that there’s a lot out there these days that’s frustrating as hell.  (I’m debating if I should avoid FB and the news until specific times of the day, to keep from spiralling down on how fucked up The United States’ political scene has become.  I think that’s a good idea, because while being informed is important and standing up to injustice is critical there’s a lot of time when I literally cannot do anything about what I might be reading — like when I’m at work — except feel bad/frustrated/angry/depressed, and that’s not exactly helpful either.

I guess that’s all for the moment.  Although I do feel ‘normal,’ I still have really low energy reserves.  I’m not getting physically depleted just by walking up a flight of stairs anymore (which I’m taking to mean that I need to get on the ball and start building my stamina back up, since it has suffered significantly from my time being sedentary due to illness and medication side effects) but I do tire quickly when I’m active.  Like: I’m starting to get that ‘I need sleep’ headache, even though I’m not sleepy and I’m not exhausted.

I’ve been doing a lot of meditation at times like that — which I personally think is an improvement over having to do a lot of napping — in order to get back into top form.

If you’re familiar with spoon theory, then I guess it feels sort of like when I’m in top shape I have a full drawer of spoons to spend — but instead of spending one per thing I do, I’m spending one and setting aside four, so the drawer empties out super damn fast… even though 4/5ths of the spoons aren’t actually spent, they’re just sort of sitting there waiting for me to take a rest and put them back in the drawer.

Right.  So, that’s all for reals now.  I hope this finds you all happy and healthy.  Be well.

–Eren Reverie

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