CRAWLING OUT OF A CRISIS

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DEPRESSIONCOMIX.COM BY CLAY JONATHAN

AMBER LOVE 12-DEC-2016 I drafted this last week and wasn’t sure if I should post it, but since I’ve been pretty open about mental health issues, I figure WTF. During November, I was in crisis. It was a culmination of multiple things all at once and that was a dangerous cocktail. I alienated friends. I had real fears of needing to be out of my house because of the right-wing redneck presence I have to deal with daily. I saw that this election drove people to suicide and the hotlines had substantial increases in callers. Everything about the US came crashing down to reveal how fragile we are. But this isn’t about politics. It’s about how serious the bigotry and intolerance was able to hit lil ol’ me in Whitebread, USA.

Even though I’ve taken a big step back in cosplay, a hobby I once loved and saturated my life in daily, I still found ways to make it part of my life. My suits might not fit and I can’t afford to make new ones, but I would try to show up to events and take pictures or share links about charity events. In early October, it came out that one of the costume makers of the Rebel Legion/501st outfits was a notorious right-wing Holocaust denier. Naturally, this upset a great number of my friends in cosplay even those who aren’t Star Wars fans. Then after the election, I saw 501st/RL members post their support for Trump when it’s well documented by the SPLC that hate crimes are rampant since the election, (over 800 in ten days) because it was “won” through campaigns of intolerance and prejudice. I’m disappointed the official 501st/RL have not issued statements against intolerance.

Hate and bigotry jeopardize people I care about. In my house, it makes me on edge and is one of the reasons I rarely leave my bedroom. I blend. I can’t imagine if I didn’t. I’m cis and white. But I’m also not straight, not Xian, and poor as fuck. My four-year college education has not “saved” me like people claimed it would. I’m the biggest loser of the family. The only thing in my life family ever said they were proud of was when I lost weight, all of which I regained.

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After three solid weeks of endless suicidal thoughts, I was sent really over the edge by a visitor to the house who verbally mocked me in front of a family member. That’s when I grabbed my purse and left the house without even a coat or my cat. I can’t move out (see again: dirt poor). My mother worried I was running from her so I let her know what happened. She said that person wouldn’t be allowed back. I stayed away for a couple days but I’m not great when I can’t see my stuff, even if it’s material possessions I don’t actually need.

Staying off social media has helped, so I’ll probably keep myself to a scaled back routine.

By chance, I got a form letter in the mail from my doctor’s office saying I had to come in for a physical though I don’t know why. I was in there over the summer for my back spasms. When I have to think about picking up the phone to make a medical appointment, it takes a stupid amount of effort. I put it off. I add it to a To Do list. I write it on a post-it note. I check to see that the number is in my contacts for whenever I need it. Then sometimes, I get around to making the call and this time I did.

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So here’s what happened:

Nov 30

Had a miserable doctor’s appointment that should have been a quick routine physical. I was in there for two hours having a panic attack the entire time. As kind as they are, leaving me waiting or turning a physical into a psych eval when I was already freaking out was difficult to get through. After 2 hours there, I was given two new prescriptions so I went to fill them. The best thing I can say is that neither the visit nor the meds cost me anything because of my new plan (got a bill, see Dec 13). I’m generally against anti-depressants because they don’t cure anything and when I was on them (and from memoirs I’ve read of other patients) they don’t actually stop the symptoms. I said I wouldn’t take any more SSRIs so I was given different stuff for fibromyalgia pain and anxiety.

Dec 1

Felt queasy and shaky in the morning from the pill the night before. Took the day “off” even moreso than I have been for the month. I read Sherlock Holmes books and watched one of the Rupert Everett movies.

Dec 2

Went from feeling nothing to feeling anxious and nervous. I’ve looked at social media a little more the past two days. Still a little shaky. Woke up at 3am but didn’t get moving around 5:45. Felt “scared” to go near my computer. Had it on for hours before sitting down at it.

Dec 3

Spent the previous night with Gus at the apartment and didn’t go home until 6pm. Still had moments where it felt like I was moving through water. At least from now on, I can leave the house for weekends and take Gus with me so that’s an improvement.

Dec 4

Began to experience feeling anxious again though no crying. Took half of the second pill for the first time to see how it would be. Felt the same as Xanax, drained me for a short while, then no effect at all. Didn’t even care that I received a rejection for a huge opportunity at Bitch Media.

Dec 5

Woke up just before 3am (normal) and rested until 6 to feed Gus. Didn’t have any energy and kept falling back to sleep until noon. Ate my McVities in the morning but then couldn’t eat again until after 2pm. Got Patreon rewards posted and some scheduled social media posts at least. My head felt like it was on one of those paint can shakers for hours. Didn’t hurt, just kept vibrating my brain.

Dec 6

Woke up every hour nearly on the top of the hour. Fed Gus, showered, watched TV, and eventually made coffee. Today, the coffee felt fine to drink not like yesterday where I stopped after a few sips. Racked with guilt over not having any podcasts to post. Feel like I’m letting people down. The best I can say is that while I’m still pretty useless most of the time (fatigued and barely able to lift my arms to do anything or take my head off the pillow), at least I’m not crying constantly. Seems my ravenous, constantly hungry nature is back too. Too bad because I had lost 3 lbs.

Dec 7

Slept 10 hours. The cat didn’t even wake me up. After one week on this stuff, I can say it definitely has helped my pain issues. My back hurts only slightly today from a tight muscle but the nerve pain hasn’t happened at all. Uploaded patreon reward and formatted the next one. Managed to force myself out of my chair to get to the post office despite the continued feelings I have about being out of the house.

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BY ELLEN FORNEY

Dec 13  [updated]

While I continuously debated in my clouded mind about whether or not to publish this post, I ventured back to social media one step at a time (had to block someone already). Today, I feel miserable. Yesterday I was so fatigued that I started to fall over at my desk so I just went back to bed in the middle of the day and slept. This morning was more of the same. This time I kept sitting here at the keyboard thinking that I could force my fingers to move. It took hours before they did and it wasn’t all that productive in terms of creating.

You can take a break. But eventually, making art means making art. Writing requires writing, music means picking up the instrument, creating stuff means grabbing the tools even as it feels strange to do so. To do the thing you gotta do the thing. This is the hardest and simplest truth of making art. You have to do the work, even if it’s a little at a time. – Chuck Wendig, Terrible Minds, “How to Create Art and Make Cool Stuff in a Time of Trouble” 13 Dec 2016

I scheduled a bunch of tweets and posts to Facebook to spotlight some friends’ work for the holidays. I updated some previous posts to have more links. I don’t feel I’m in the right mindframe to edit fiction so I started to make up chapter titles that I may or may not use on Misty Murder; didn’t finish.

I’m already worried about car insurance coming due ($600) and then got a doctor’s bill in today’s mail ($99). I wouldn’t have made that appointment; I wouldn’t have put myself through the panic and crippling anxiety if for one moment I thought it wasn’t covered. The “list” says periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment are covered. I called they said it was a mistake.

You can support me at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and buy my books.

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