Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps (Depression talk and tips)

It’s kind of the only advice you get out where I live. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” “Suck it up, buttercup.” Nice, punchy, hand-waving… crap.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in a rural area, a farm town in Northern Alberta, Canada. The population is probably around 1,000. Depression is a big issue out here, but there isn’t much help for it. Not that people don’t want help, but there’s no help out here. For my own experience, I called for help in July. I’m still waiting.

So what can we do? Claw yourself out of a hole, really. There’s not much to do. Either you survive or you don’t. It becomes that simple. Most people use alcohol or something simple to self-medicate. Some of us can’t do that.

We survive by reaching out and making connections with one another, with making sure we know we have a lifeline. Recently, I was at a rather scary point in my life where I didn’t feel like I had a lifeline, a safety net. It felt like I was in freefall down into the abyss of depression and delusion.

The only person (other than my husband) who I felt I could open up to also was in freefall. He refused to try and get himself back up. So this is something sort of for him, sort of for the rest of you, and definitely for myself.

Tip 1: Open the Windows

Really. Let light in. Sit in the sun if you don’t feel like going outside. Just… see the world outside even if you’re not going to go engage with it. Know that there are other people struggling, too. The world doesn’t end at your doorstep. (I know that’s kind of a weird statement, but people get out of touch with reality if they tarry in depression too long. There were several times in my teens and early 20s (when I primarily spent my life in my bedroom) that I was convinced my walls were cardboard and outside was a soundstage and then nothingness.)

Tip 2: Get Some Sleep!!! (But not too much…)

Getting a regular sleep schedule, even if you don’t have a job or aren’t going to school, is a must. Keep in mind that your body and mind need sleep to recuperate and make sense of what’s going on. I don’t fully understand the science behind it, but it’s a necessary thing. When you have a regular sleep schedule you can count on a good amount of rest every night (or day for you night owls) and you’ll have the energy and ability to take care of your problems.

Tip 3: Eat Well and Regularly

A big thing with depression is your appetite might change. Mine does. In certain points of depression I have no appetite whatsoever (and rapidly lose weight) while in others I overeat (and rapidly gain). It’s important to keep a schedule and regular meals, though. I don’t really know enough about nutrition to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat, but it should contain a variety of foods in a variety of colors. But everything in moderation, hm?

Tip 4: Get Active

This one’s a tough one in depression because a lot of us don’t feel like doing anything, but getting moving does actually help. Even if your activity is to load the dishwasher or fold the clothes. Even that little bit can help propel you forward. You need it. And, trust me, I know the difficulty of those forward steps. It’s easier to make excuses, but excuses keep you where you are.

Tip 5: Stay Connected

I don’t have this as much but I know a lot of people who just shut down when it gets bad enough. However, if you don’t stay connected you won’t have as many resources to help yourself. And the people around you do care. So keep those ties. And you may lose some friends through your depression, but they weren’t worth it if they walk away while you’re having a hard time.

Note: If people walk away because you’re a complete jerk to them, that’s not on them, that’s on you.

Tip 6: Take Responsibility

This isn’t as much for getting out of depression as it is for you to retain integrity. When you’re depressed it’s easier to put responsibility on everyone else and blame the world for your problems. So stop it. Don’t do that. You just push people away with that. And then you blame them for walking away. Stop it. That’s not good. Recognize what you’re doing and what you can do to make your own life better.

Tip 7: Something To Look Forward To

Something that really helps me is having something in each week to look forward to. It can be ordering out from a favorite restaurant, playing a game you like, watching a movie, reading a book, seeing a friend, or really anything else. But these things are useful as it lets you have a reward or a bright spot in an otherwise dull week. “Yeah, today’s bad, but on Friday I’ll order pizza and play some games with friends.” A weekly meet up with others (preferably physically, but via internet if you have no way of doing it physically) is also really good.

Tip 8: Decide You Want Better

I cannot stress this enough, you are in control of you. You control what you think (if you decide to) and you can have some control over your emotions. A lot of times we can’t get better because we’re getting something out of staying depressed. It’s not always something tangible, but it could be attention or pandering or any number of things. And this is a step no one else can take for you. You can have a million friends and do everything else on this list, but if you don’t decide to step out of your depression you never will.

 

I hope this list is some help. I’ll likely look at it from time to time. Please have a wonderful day.

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Book Read Order and Writer’s Block

When I did my book haul video (I’m on both YouTube and Bitchute as Author M) I said I’d be reading the books I got in a certain order. I’m already off to the task of reading The Traitor God which is absolutely amazing so far. Granted, I have taken such a long break from reading that I sometimes find myself looking through to see how many pages until the next chapter, but that’s just because I’m adjusting back to reading.

So I figured I’d post the order in which I intend to read these books so you guys can read along with me if you want. Granted, I’ll probably be a bit slow on that front. It’s hard for me to figure out when I should be reading and when I shouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll be reading my books in the following order:

The Traitor GodAge of AssassinsSpellslinger, In the Region of the Summer Stars, Mistborn trilogy, Stephen King’s Dark Tower (1-3), and The Wheel of Time (1-6)

The first four are either not part of series that I’m aware of or part of series that I don’t have more books for. I’ll probably end up spending months on each books, so I apologize, and I will be using books from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to take a break if I get annoyed with the books otherwise.

With that out of the way, I can get to the gist of today’s post. I’m working on a book and have been for the past 5 years. This book is something that has existed in my mind for a while now, but I’ve restarted it several times now. I dislike that about myself, but it comes from my own insecurity about writing. This means that I end up getting writer’s block every few chapters as I think about, “But wouldn’t it be better if I started it like this?”

That vexing foe has struck again. Yesterday was spent in despair as I tried to figure out whether to start over with this new, darker tone and change up my whole story or keep going with this story and maybe have to change it entirely before I send it off to beta readers just to satisfy my own curiosity. I turned to friends, family, and an author’s forum to see if I can figure out what to do. Of course, this led to general advice that could fit with most problems, and some extremely helpful, specific advice.

I know why this is happening, by the way. I know what kind of story I want to tell but my mind keeps coming up with ways it could be better. Even in that, though, I need to stop iterating. If I don’t, it’ll never be sent off, never have a chance at being published.

So I’m going to keep writing on what I have been thus far. Unfortunately, none of us will ever produce a perfect work, no matter how hard we try. Therefore, we must work to the best of our abilities at the time. Each created piece becomes a tie capsule of where the creator was at the time of its release into the world. Since we can never be perfect, neither can our works. It’s a shame, but it’s beautiful at the same time.

So I’m going to keep going. It’s all I can do. To give up or start over is to admit defeat. What I have now would, at very least, be enjoyable. I can work with enjoyable.

Emergency Room Story and Upcoming Book Haul

Hey guys! So I haven’t shared way too much of my personal life on here yet, but I’m gonna tell y’all a story or two about recent events.

As you can guess, one of those stories involves an emergency room visit. But the one story is technically two because it starts with me going to get my MRI. Because I have MS I occasionally get an MRI with contrast done so that my neurologist can see if the disease has progressed or if current treatments are keeping it at bay. With contrast means that they put an IV in before I get the MRI so they can add a dye that will show up on the scans.

So the scan was at 8AM in a hospital in a city that’s five hours from where I live. That means my husband and I stayed overnight at a hotel the night before and got a taxi to the hospital in the morning. Because there are few people scheduled for 8 in the morning, I was quickly called back to get the process started.

Now, due to the years of being me I know that my veins sometimes move between the time the nurse checks them and the time the needle goes in. I warned the nurse of this and, sure enough, the first vein she tried wouldn’t work because it had moved. So she got it in the second one instead. Sweet. But it was kind of weird because I was still quite groggy and sort of half asleep. So words and all that were not properly making sense in my mind.

MRI was done in about thirty minutes, then Hubby and I caught a taxi back to the hotel and jumped in the car to head home. On the drive I noticed that my arm was a little sore where the IV had been but figured this was just normal as I’d had pain after an IV before.

Next morning my right forearm (the IV had been in my right wrist) was swollen, red, and extremely painful. But… no, I’m not gonna sound the alarm, I’m just waiting it out cause, of course, it’s probably gonna be fine. Right?

On Friday night, having not gone to the doctor at all through the week, I noticed I had a fever and I had quite intense chills. So Hubby got me into the car and we went to the ER where we were assessed and put in line behind a woman wearing one of those surgical masks, a young man who’d sliced his hand open while working on a car, and a family with several small children, one of whom was quite sick. Still, it didn’t take us long to get called back.

For the next few hours we sat in an examination room waiting to be seen by the doctor. At some point we hear the nurse who assessed me talking to the other one at the nurse’s station and making the comment that the hospital I’d gotten my MRI done at had a lot of problems and, “This is what you can expect out of them.” Oh. Great.

Another hour after that the doctor finally got there and started taking a look at me. The fever and chills were gone at this point of their own accord, but my arm was red, swollen, painful, and warm as it had been all week. I’m pretty sure he asked me, “Did you have chills?” three times and his examination of my arm was mainly feeling around and saying, “Ah, so no pain!” with me correcting him through clenched teeth, “Lots of pain.” Hubby said he was worried I’d punch the doctor when he pushed particularly hard on the infection.

I was given antibiotics and told that they were going to call it an infection but there was no “root cause” and that I needed to keep it clean, but, you know, good job on not having any pus. I didn’t even know pus was a thing that could happen in this kind of thing…

It’s probably good we got out of there when we did, though, as a stabbing victim was rushed in as we were leaving. Poor guy. Hope he’s okay. Since we don’t know his name, we’re not bothering to check the papers.

So, yeah, “fun” ER visit. I usually end up in the ER at least twice a year. Last year it was because we thought I might have a blood clot. This year, apparently, it’s because of issues with IVs. At least it’s a nice place. Despite the inexperienced doctor (which is standard where I live) it was a comfortable experience. Saw the guy who’d sliced his hand open leave earlier, too, and the kids were gone by the time we left. So, great triage. (And, no, that isn’t sarcasm there.)

Anyway, almost a week out, my arm is no longer swollen or in pain. The redness is gone, and my antibiotics are almost through. Yay for that, too. Could’ve been a lot worse. But it is why I’ve been more or less silent.

The other thing I wanted to talk about today was the book haul. According to Amazon, my first shipment should be at the post office so my husband will pick that up today! I look forward to putting the video out!

Coming Book Haul

So I don’t intend to do the BookTube thing. It requires a lot more than I’m able to do as it tends to require one to keep up with some amount of new releases and the closest book store is something like 5 hours away. Well, that and we’re a one income home and books get pricey (says the woman who just dropped almost $200 on books from Amazon).

But, yeah, it’s probably gonna be an upcoming video for when I get a channel set up. You’ll see what I bought then. And maybe even my face! Maybe. I’m not that camera ready, though.

Goals and Dreams and Unfinished Projects

There’s a curse that comes with being creative. That curse tends to be that one wants a project to be perfect so one works on it indefinitely, sometimes ruining it in the end. It’s important to set goals as an artist, musician, writer, or any other form of creative job.

In the past I would avoid this as I fell into the, “But my creativity can’t be bound to deadlines!” The unfortunate truth is the world doesn’t run at a mosey and creativity must be given bounds in which to stretch. And when I wrote my first attempts at novels I set no deadlines for myself, nor goals on word count. That meant my first two attempts topped out at around 20k. Pretty good for a 12 year old… well, 12 for one and 13 for the next.

These days I try to set goals for myself, though my novels are always horribly under count when it comes to words. It isn’t until I get near final draft that I crest 60k. And that’s a lot of words, yeah. But 60 is barely enough. A more comfortable length is 80k.

Look, it takes quite a bit to write a book. It’s different for everyone. I’ve seen videos from authors who write at least that much in three months! That seems insane to me (but most people can if they sit down and do it). I have friends who can write 10k words in a day! I either don’t have the stamina or I don’t have the inspiration for that very often.

So I set goals that work for me. Some that have worked for me are, “I’ll finish one chapter a week,” “This draft will be finished by the first of the month next month,” or, “I’m going to write every day.” And my friends who write faster will likely be more prolific. They’ll pass me by.

Therefore, I’m going to make a few goals right here and invite you all to go on this journey with me (with your own goals and sticking around to watch mine).

  1. I intend to finish the current draft of my novel by the first of November.
  2. I’ll send the draft off to beta readers on the first of November and ask for their notes back by December 1st.
  3. I’ll finish up the final draft of my book and draft a usable query letter by January 5th.
  4. I’ll send off my first batch of queries on January 7th.
  5. Starting this week I’m going to make a video about writing at least once a month.
  6. Starting this week I’m going to write a blog post once a week.

So there we go. 6 goals that I believe I can accomplish.

What are some goals you’d like to accomplish?

-M

 

Also! I’ve recently gotten a Gab and a Mastodon! On both, my username is Author_M. I intend to make a YouTube or Bitchute account under the same name (with or without underscore). Feel free to follow me on both! I do not like Twitter so I don’t intend to make an account there.

A Legacy

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about philosophy and spirituality and longevity. By no means do I think I have any original thoughts on this, but I will state what I think and draw up conclusions and such.

In creating a more robust world for my current novel to take place in I’ve been working on gods and their ins and outs. The easiest way to go about this, I feel, is to make a list of elements and assign a god to them. But it does make me think. In times before there was worldwide conversations, where one was stuck in one’s more or less immediate surroundings, how did ideas on gods begin? And I’m no expert and my extrapolations are likely quite juvenile so I won’t start on those, but I will say where these wonderings got me.

If there is a god who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and omnipresent, how could said god give its creations free will? Now, that’s a question posed many times. Is it free will if someone already knows everything you’ll do? Is it a choice if it’s already been decided?

This is a problem both in theology (for any religions where there’s an all knowing god) and in fiction. I don’t have a solution to this problem. In stories you need everything to seem natural and it needs to seem like a character chose his or her own path. However, even there the character doesn’t choose. If I write that my character eats toast for breakfast, the character has no choice but to eat toast. If my imaginings and words made real worlds that character would be a person and may think he or she has decided to have toast but there would be no decision there.

But toast for breakfast isn’t nearly so dire. The more sinister issues come later. Is it the villain’s choice to be evil? Did the god make him evil by design? And if the answer is, “No, there was no evil in his original design,” then said god can’t be all knowing or all powerful. Because if the god was all knowing and all powerful the villain would be designed to be the villain (though it’s often joked that DMs and writers are gods of their worlds, this is especially true in the sense of writing). If the god designed the character to be good but the issues presented in the story turn the character from the hero’s path, then it’s perhaps an all powerful god, but not one that is all knowing.

If, however, a god is both all knowing and all powerful, the villain is not responsible for what he or she became because the god created him or her knowing what would happen and did nothing to change it.

Now, up to now we’ve been talking about fiction, which is fine and easy to deal with. But what about applying that to real world religions? In this course of thought I asked a few people their thoughts. Some agnostic theists, some agnostic atheists, some Christians, and my pool of contacts isn’t large enough to expand further than that religiously, unfortunately.

The consensus has been there is no good answer. And… it’s really up to the individual to face that question, if it’s even a problem. After all, it’s not a problem to people without a religion.

In my projects I attempt to be benevolent. Whether it is my nature or the nurture given me growing up (the scientific version of this question), I want to give goodness to others. Even in video games I feel terrible doing bad things. That being said, I’ve met many wonderful people who interact with virtual worlds without any guilt over their actions, good or bad.

So what do you think? About any of this.

Thanks for reading. I know it’s been over a month since my last post. Sorry about that. I have just been dealing with deep depression. I’m on my way out, though! I hope! One step at a time, one day at a time.

Depression

It’s been a while since I updated, hasn’t it? Well, part of that I can blame on my family coming to visit me (it was an absolute blast) and part of it I can blame on my terrible depression.

I’m not gonna give you the talk about what depression is cause I’m assuming people understand it to a point (I hope). I’ve had depression since I was a teenager, I think. I wouldn’t say in childhood, though I could be quite melancholy then, but it hit full force when I was a teenager. Back then I didn’t realize what it was, but now I am rather aware.

Depression is a beast that attacks when I least expect it and when I do most. Almost every day, definitely as the light gets lower. It halts my hands, it stills my thoughts, it craves appreciation and attention. I’ve been in a partial paralysis for my entire adult life. Even now that I’m on anti-depressants, most of my days are a 2 out of a scale from 0-10.

Of course, with the depression comes the anxiety and with the anxiety comes the avoidance of responsibilities or, in most cases, the feeling of wanting to hide under the covers and never come out again.

I don’t really have an end goal with this post, you know. Just wanting to share. If you’re feeling this way, too, you’re not alone. You can get through it. Surround yourself with supportive people and celebrate the small things. I’m celebrating the fact that I got out of bed this morning.