• Member Since 12th Aug, 2017
  • offline last seen Last Thursday

chris the cynic


Someone who doesn't know how to describe herself, is always struggling with debilitating depression, and won't stop hanging onto the hope that happy endings are possible.

More Blog Posts24

Jun
24th
2018

On the lack of updates, and on depression, and on hopelessness, and on all that · 10:56pm Jun 24th, 2018

[This will be extremely long and rambling.]
[You have been warned.]
[Oh, also: profanity]

It would be nice to believe that the reason that I care about the treatment of people with mental illness is because I'm a good person with a big heart and . . . so forth. I'd like to it's something like that instead of something inherently selfish. But there is a potential reason that's inherently selfish.

In general, when people talk about mental illness they're not thinking about depression and things like it. (The exception being bipolar, but only because it can involve psychosis.) That probably says things about our culture as a whole. Depression is far and away the most common mental illness, and stigmatization of people with mental illness would probably be greatly lessened if "Mentally Ill" brought to mind "Eyore" instead of "That crazed killer from every thriller movie."

Anyway, the point of this whole preamble is that I have depression, in two flavors no less,* which means that I am by definition mentally ill. That gives me a way of tying things into my previous blog posts here since I've recently been talking about how Forgotten Friendship ties into the treatment of people with mental illness.

It's not much of a tie in, but that's my potential selfish reason for caring: Maybe I only care about the treatment of mentally ill people because I am, by definition, such a person. Like I said, I hope it's actually because I'm a good person who cares about others. And I can sort of defend that too. My depression is entirely unlike the things that cause people to think they have relationships and histories with people when, in reality, they don't. (Which is what Sunset Shimmer would have looked like to the human six when she was going on about things they did together that they didn't remember.)


Now that I've driven everyone away and no one is reading anymore, lets talk about those things from the title.

In early February last year I was doing god damned amazing mood-wise. Especially considering the fact that there were some very bad things going on in the world in general and my family in particular. I probably wasn't mentally normal, because I've had depression so long that it turns out that I don't know what normal is. (For example, I mistook "depressed, but more mildly" for "completely cured of depression, we'll never need to adjust these meds again.")

On the 16th of February I was ready to go into phase two of cleaning my house. I'd sorted a lot of stuff everything that wasn't where it should be, and was starting to move it to where it went. First thing tried to move belonged into the basement. I slipped at the top of the stairs, it felt like I hit every stair on the way down, and when I came to a stop in unspeakable agony on the basement floor my left ankle was broken in three places.

Certain medications increase the risk of blood clot, but the benefits are worth the risks. When you need surgery, though, all of the math changes. It doesn't just change during the surgery, it changes for months afterward.

So I was off certain meds for months, and when I got back on them my body chemistry had changed and it took even more months to adjust dosages to my new chemistry.

Time for a bit of an aside:


Not everything about this is bad. For example:

I wouldn't be here if I hadn't broken my ankle.

Don't ask me why, because I don't know, but when things get really bad (like "even moving is hard" bad) I get into cartoons.

Originally it was getting into the cartoons themselves and nothing else. See: .hack//Sign.

At some point it became the fandoms. That's how I found myself immersed in Kim Possible fan fiction and, to a lesser extent, Teen Titans fan fiction.

For last year's "Broken Ankle; Shattered Mood" thing it was both. Legend of Everfree was relatively recent at the time (3.5 months old when I broke my ankle) and Munchkin Weasel had us all watch it (much to Elder Weasel's chagrin). Suddenly Equestria Girls was my new cartoon/fandom fixation for my post-ankle down period.

It's why I'm here.

There are a thousand other things I could have fixed on. And, honestly, the reason "a thousand" is figurative instead of literal there is that it's way too low of a number.

(Also, for the record, I am completely weirded out by the absence of two Sunset Shimmer shippings. Well . . . it's not like there are no stories, but I feel like there should be way more. Sunset/Princess Luna seems like it should be huge based on the strength of "We have so much in common", while Sunset/Human-Rainbow seems like it should be much larger than it is based on the strength of "We compliment each other so well.")


Ok, back to mood and stuff. So when I started posting here in August of last year I was walking again (I've got a plate, screws to hold in the plate, and a giant fucking screw that's entirely unrelated to the plate all in my foot, holding it together) and I told myself I'd recovered mentally. I hadn't.

It was like someone who was treading water telling themselves the fact they were breathing meant they must be on dry land.

It's now been more than I year and six months and I still haven't recovered mentally. Interestingly, it really has nothing to do with my ankle. It has to do with what having a broken ankle did to the rest of my life.

For example: remember how I'd sorted stuff that needed to be moved from where it was to where it went? With the broken ankle I needed enough space to move around on crutches. Space that was taken up by sorted stuff. And I had to make the space while sliding around on my butt which is not conducive to putting it where it actually goes. Everything got shoved into jumbled piles in whatever part of whatever room was "out of the way" at the time. And "out of the way" from the perspective of someone with a broken ankle, which in at least one case happens to be "the perfect place to work under normal circumstances."

Then months when I couldn't do anything to clean while my cat, embodiment of entropy that she is, knocked anything and everything over.

My home became a prison and the no-longer-sorted piles that were pushed to the sides were like walls that were always closing in on me.

It's probably been ten months since I was physically able to fix that, but whenever I want to try I freeze up, or get overwhelmed, or get too sad to do anything but stay in place, or end up otherwise debilitated. And that's now. I only got ADD meds like a month ago. People have thought I had ADD since second grade, but it wasn't until now that they decided, "Why don't we just have a trial and see if the meds help?"

Oh my fucking god could I have been the top student in almost all of my classes if they'd just put me on ADD meds back in second grade when they noticed I might need them. (More likely I would have been a middling student in harder classes, but that's not the point.)

Anyway, example, living in a cluttered mess where every single place you look is a constant reminder that you're incapable of preforming simple tasks like cleaning isn't the best thing for your mental health when you're already prone to low self esteem, seeing everything as a sign of your inadequacies, bouts of sadness and despondency, and so forth.

That's just one example. Which I took 6 paragraphs on.

I spent the better part of a year screwed over because of ankle and meds and such. I am overflowing with examples.


So I'd never really mentally recovered, all sorts of things about my surroundings are bringing me down, and raccons have taken resisdence in my attic. (Which pisses me off because the nosy, to the point I think it might qualify as stalking, neighbor previously incorrectly thought she saw raccoons up there, which means if she finds out that there are now real raccoons up there she's going to take that as proof her imaginary raccoons were real, and probably redouble her surveillance.)

Anyway, like treading water and pretending that everything was fine. That was me. The trouble is, eventually you run out of energy, and then treading water becomes downing. (Which is why dry land is better for long term residence.)

And that's what happened. The bottom dropped out and started sinking. I tried all of these strategies to keep me up, and they amounted to no more than the exhausted thrashing of someone who can't keep their head above water anymore.


It doesn't help that I recently learned we're losing the family farm. We always knew we were going to lose most of it, and the goal was thus to find a buyer who wouldn't bulldoze the damned thing. We did that. It's going to become a sort of privately owned publicly accessible park. But we were supposed to keep the house, the greenhouse, and a tiny portion of the land around them. (Enough that we'd keep the butternut, which my grandfather planted as a gift to my mother when she was a child; the phoenix willow, which was struck by lightning spent years growing stunted, was eventually blown over, was chainsawed into billets for removal, and then rose again stronger and more beautiful than ever before; and other stuff like that.)

There are two possibilities, neither of them good. That doesn't really matter, what matters is that their very last act before making everything final was to change the deal so we lost the whole fucking farm. Provided you have no soul, it was actually a really good tactic on their part. Considering the nature of the nearest offer, how run down my mom was after dealing with this shit for a decade, and how my mom reacts under intense pressure when put on the spot, they had every reason to believe that they could screw us over and still get what they wanted. So they did. And they did.

That left me crying for days and in a really bad place for even longer.

I grew up there as much as I did in my own home. (Both my parents worked full time. When they couldn't look after us as a result, my mothers parents were usually the ones who did. That meant a lot of summers, weekends, and weekday afternoons were spent at the farm.)

The pain is still there. (While the sale is final, it takes time for property to change hands. You know when it finally stops belonging to my family? Three days after my birthday.)


So, bad place mentally, neither my environment nor events surrounding my family are helping in the least. Figuratively drowning.

I don't know where I go from here. None of the stories are cancelled. I should probably say that again and louder:

None of the stories are cancelled.

But six of them are incomplete and I don't know when I'll be in the right frame of mind to continue them. Could be tomorrow. Could be later today. (Wouldn't that be nice?) Could be three months. Could be a year. (Sweet fuck, I hope it's not that long.)

I could mark them all as "Hiatus" because I don't know when I'll be able to continue them, but that doesn't feel like it's entirely accurate. I've never had a regular update schedule, and if you peruse what I've said, this down-state I'm in (while it's worse now) has been going on since before I started any of them.

On the other hand . . . everything I've said.

Here's some info on where things stand:

A New Path Forward:
- - - Posted Chapters: 1 2
- - - Written: Chapters 5 (It's actually the first part I wrote)
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Chapters 3 4
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: the sequel as a whole, the sequel's climax in particular
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2 from the "Meanwhile, in Equestria" spin-off story

Stumbling Toward Redemption
- - - Posted Chapters: 1
- - - Written: very beginning of Chapter 2
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Chapter 3

Just the two of me
- - - Posted Chapters: 1 2
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Chapters 3 4 5

Anon-a-Missed
- - - Posted Chapters: 1
- - - Written: Scattered bits from all over
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Chapter 2
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: The story as a whole, but not in terribly specific ways, except:
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: The epilogue

Down the Memory Hole
- - - Posted Chapters: 1
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: the whole work, but chapter breaks have yet to be determined

From The Ashes
- - - Posted Chapters: 1
- - - Written: incomplete parts of Chapters 2 3
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Chapters 2 3

Except:

I've actually done a fair amount of writing (not terribly recently) on stuff for which I have nothing posted, and even when I do manage to write there's no guarantee it'll be on the above stories and not the ones with nothing published (or Kim Possible, or . . .) Here's some of the ones with nothing published.

Sunset Shimmer: Alchemist
- - - Written: Chapter 1
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Rainbow Rocks

Exiled to See you:
- - - Written: Parts of Chapter 1 and 2
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: the parts that aren't written of those two, as well as a concept for two (likely one-shot) spinoff stories

Outside Intervention:
- - - Written: bits and bobs of chapter 1

The Sunny Skies Holiday Special
- - - Written: Almost the entire prologue
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: bunches of individual scenes from a variety of parts of the story.

Two Students (full series FiM AU)
- - - Written: Start of Chapter 1
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Through the end of Friendship is Magic Part 2

Different races; Same Destiny (full series FiM AU)
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Through the end of Friendship is Magic Part 1

Time's Orphans (themed anthology of one shots)
- - - Written: No Longer Great Serpents
- - - Vaguely sort of outlined: Fleeing through the Looking Glass

Untitled Hell & High Water Spur
- - - Outlined in a fair amount of detail: Chapter 1

Vaguely sort of outlined in really vague ways:
- - - Friendship vs. Ragnarok
- - - Sunset crashes a Canterlot Wedding
- - - Oblivion's Outcasts: A land without Cutie Marks.
- - - Untitled triangular shipping story (Sunlight Shadow ship)
- - - Snowdrop Holiday Special

So on, so forth


So, um, that's the status update.

Never did touch on the hopelessness from the the title, but I assure you it's there. It can really work in conjunction with the other facets of depression to make it impossible to accomplish anything. Take low energy, mix in apathy towards some things with despondency in other areas, sprinkle with the belief that everything will end horribly no matter what, and it can become impossible to accomplish even the most basic of tasks.

After all, if there's no hope, then there's not much point in doing . . . anything. Anything at all.

So, yup, that's where things stand.

Wait! One more thing. Good thing I totally forgot I was writing this for hours on end. (Granted that's not true, but . . . hey.)

I am planning to start up a sort of scraps anthology thing. So when you see a story called "Fragments of the Multiverse" that'll be a place where I can post new writing even if the story surrounding it doesn't exist or hasn't reached that point yet. The hope being that even when whatever is stuck, I'll still be able to plop stuff in there and thus have new stuff for you to read.

So, yeah, that's where things stand.


On the off chance someone reading this is rich and likes to throw money at problems, I do accept donations:
paypal.me/ChrisTheCynic
and, while it wouldn't help with a damned thing I mentioned here, I could find uses for such money beyond "trying to escape from under a mountain of debt". In particular, if I can raise the money to get new glasses (my insurance covers getting my eyes checked, but not doing anything about problems thus detected) then I'll be able to write (or try to write, as the case may be) a lot longer before getting horrible headaches.

I also have a Patreon account, but given that I'm in a period of creative stagnation, it seems like setting up to pay me monthly there would be even less appealing than sending me money over Paypal.

I'm not actually expecting anyone reading this to give me money. It's more . . . not even sure how to describe it. Leaving the option open, I guess. Sort of: If the one person who actually wants to give me money is reading this post, I don't want to slam the door in their face.


*Two flavors:

Dysthymia is chronic depression. It's always there but not as bad as the episodes of flavor two.

Major Depressive Disorder is acute depression. It isn't always there and instead comes in episodes of "Really Fucking Bad". Any given episode has to last longer than two weeks in order for it to "count" (13 day episodes are not enough for a diagnosis because . . . bwah?) but a) I'm not sure that there's really an upper limit on how long episodes can last, and b) the time between episodes can be anything from short to "really damned long".

Also, "Major Depressive Disorder" is badly named. Not saying that "Dysthymia" is well named, but "Major Depressive Disorder" is just . . . who the hell names something that?

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Comments ( 3 )

Damn...I'm gonna preface this with a disclaimer of being kinda bad at approaching this sorta topic from the outside. Typically I live inside that sorta space and Sunny pokes at it until she can pull my head above the waves for a few days/weeks/months before I get pulled under again for one reason or another.

I suppose the first thing I should touch on is that the bit with the farm sucks beyond the phrase of saying something sucks. Its things like that where words can't make it better and its all I really have to give. Getting twisted out of a deal by some slimy business assholes is definitely enough to toss anyone back in the hole. I myself have finally started taking medicine for my...I wanna say its ADHD, I always get it confused with ADD, its one of the two, and I mirror your own sentiments of "Where was this years ago?!" because jfc its been a saving grace these last six months. If it weren't for this medication and Sunny... well, to quote your earlier phrasing I probably 'wouldn't be here' either, meaning behind said phrasing aside.

This is the point where I really hope I don't sound like the French Aristocracy trying to relate to the starving populace because one of them skipped on the desserts for tonight. I was diagnosed with clinical depression several months back, but its not nearly as severe, so I kind get what you mean, but I hesitate to say it more flat out. I've had those hard dips and with the political landscape of the US as well as my immediate surroundings plus both school and those moments of endless hopelessness, I can recall several moments where it all just felt like a roadblock where things would stop getting either better or worse and everything would be terrible for the rest of eternity. Aside from my friends, the other thing that kept me going was a weird sense of spite, not wanting to let some metaphysical crap beat me, I suppose.

I hope my rambling hasn't been too....jumbled. Aside from that, you're always welcome back on the server, be it to talk about anything you need to with the whole group, or if you just need to DM one of us to vent or talk or anything. I'm always willing to lend an ear at the very least.

I hope at the very least you're getting a good night's sleep right now. Aside from that, I guess I'll try to close off on two quick things that I hope aren't terrible ways to transition.

On your aside: "..while Sunset/Human-Rainbow seems like it should be much larger than it is based on the strength of "We compliment each other so well."
I'm always glad to see I'm not the only one that notes that, because really, those two have some seriously parallel traits.

Secondly, well, I know you said it won't really help much, but given that I've recently found employment, I can spare a little bit right now, so I hope it at least serves somewhat as a gesture.

Again, your welcome to unload on me anytime, and the chatroom's always open for you, Chris.

4889402

I hope my rambling hasn't been too....jumbled.

Um . . . have you seen my rambling. It's right above yours.

(Obviously not serious since you responded to what I wrote, but I am serious in that your rambling would need to be a lot more jumbled before I, of all people, took issue with it.)

I know you said it won't really help much

It's more that it doesn't help with the things I talked about in the post. (And so it doesn't help getting, say, fic written and posted.) It does help.

And thank you. Not just for the money, but also for caring enough you were willing to give it.

I do plan to return to the discord, it's just that there are some things I should do first because because I'm well aware of what a time-sink it for someone with my level of self control and my time management skills.

Actually, looking forward to returning is helping me to get those things done.

4889490
Eh, well, you know. Maybe so, but I always worry about my disorganized thoughts nonetheless. Still, glad to know it’s within the acceptable range.

I’m glad to hear it does help in that way then. As much as I’d love to see more of your stuff up on site, knowing that means a lot more. I tend to feel helpless in most of these situations, so knowing that helps with the more important side of things is good to know.

As for the Discord, no rush. Life always has to come first, and acknowledging a time sink and a pattern of delving into them is a good level of self awareness I wish I had a few years back. That said, looking forwards to having you back whenever you’re ready.

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