As promised when I started typing here on ye olde word vomit blog again a few weeks ago, here is a confessional of what my 2017 was like. I’m coming clean about a few things that are difficult to say, things not even my family know about… BUT talking about mental health makes it NOT be stigma and makes it what it is- a medical condition that can be treated.
2017 started darkly with two very sick doggies (they poisoned themselves with human medicines… DO NOT LEAVE PILL BOTTLES IN ANIMAL REACH). But it was dark even before then. Something around the holidays sent me into a downward spiral of self hate and loathing. My brain was telling me I was not worthy and not good enough, because I interpreted a trigger telling me those things. Of course, because my brain tells me that everyone that knows me thinks I’m a supergal who isn’t ever sad or must always present myself as perfect, I couldn’t tell anyone how I was feeling. It wasn’t until spring that I did finally pipe up and by then there was no lower I could go. I had pulled myself out of running my store. I was spending a lot of time believing my brain and not focusing on anything, not my job, my family, things that I enjoyed (yes, even D&D). Those months are blank to me. I remember the dogs and nothing else about January-March.
Once I told Todd what was going on, I felt a little better. Then in one D&D game things got intense and that did bring me out enough that I started engaging again. (see previous blogs about my Monday game and paladin). They literally saved my life, giving me something to live for, something to look forward to each week. But then my brain went in the opposite direction and I had three weeks of mania not sleeping or eating, heightened frantic emotions, and a strange burst of creativity. An incident with a friend made me crash (hard), which would have happened eventually because of how high I was with the manic side of things.
It was writing this time that pulled me back out. That, and talking to a few confidants about my emotional state. I was finally able to see that what was happening in my brain (and had been happening for 20 years) was not me, it was something that needed treatment. But that was not all. The writing was helping to level me. It was giving me a way to channel the mania and depression in a creative way; so I continued…
… what started out as scenes based on some D&D characters became longer stories of new characters that came to live in mind… then those stories started linking to each other… and by the end of August I had a book. Yes, and entire novel. A fantasy romance hero’s journey novel.
I was ready to move on now. I spent the Fall revising, editing, and writing new stories. But I also was seeing a professional to help me see what my brain was doing to me and with me. By December I had a gift I wanted to give to those that helped me through the year. With the loving help of Todd, I printed my book (yes, I used a vanity press). Now I know the novel is crap. It’s the first thing I’ve written in 20+ years, but it’s mine and I’m proud.
While the holidays and the busyness of the season have drained me some, I’m still committed to writing and I’ve picked up cross-stitch again to give my brain something quiet and peaceful to focus on. I will continue to write and learn about writing in 2018. I will also be speaking out about mental health and self-preservation. There is NO shame in having a mental health issue. There is no shame in wanting to keep yourself healthy, even if that means pulling away from certain people who trigger the negative feelings. There is no shame in the word “NO”. If you don’t want to do something, you don’t ever have to. If someone really cares, they will understand why you don’t want to go do X,Y or Z. And if they don’t, if they poke and prod, if they bully, if they guilt you … then FUCK THEM… you don’t need them. That’s my 2018.. realizing these things and making sure I don’t fall back down that hole that nearly swallowed me for good in 2017.