Jun
2018

Daily Blog Post #17

A couple of days ago a news article came up on my newfeed on FB that fashion designer Kate Spade had passed away of apparent suicide. This morning I woke to the news Anthony Bourdain also succumbed to the mental illness and took his life. While I was unfamiliar with Mrs. Spade, or her accomplishments and struggles, I was sorta familiar with Anthony Bourdain. I watched his shows a few times, watched his guest appearance on Bizzare Foods, heard a lot about him that I admired.

Beyond the celebrity status, beyond the buzz of hollywood and high fashion, these were two people who fought an unseen fight against mental illness. And they lost. I could lay out the statistics, but everyone is doing that. I hurt for their families and friends, I mourn the loss of their talent. And I’m angry, I’m pissed, I’m downright enraged that mental illness is still not being taken seriously. I hear it, even from my own son, scoffing and condemning the people who hurt so deeply, who struggled so valiantly, yet who, in the end, couldn’t keep the inner demons of the mind away.

takes a deep breath

It could have been me. Did you know that? As recently as a few weeks ago the irritating, lying thought crossed my mind that the whole damn world would be better off it I wasn’t around. Back in 2001 I almost drove my car off a cliff, I’m not kidding. I didn’t, obviously, but had it not been for the fact I was preg with A, and I had J & D in the car I would have. I was so deep in the well of depression that I couldn’t see light. I wanted it done and over with. I chose not to, I continued on our way to the campground at Lake Cuyamaca in So Cal. But it was tempting. Very tempting. I was so tired. Tired of living, of struggling, of being screamed at and manipulated. I felt I was a burden on those that loved me, I felt that those closest to me really didn’t like me much at all. I was ready to be done. I chose not to because while my life is my business, I had no business taking the opportunity of living away from my boys. That got my thinking to shift and I recognized how in an instant I could have taken an irreversible step.

This wasn’t the only time those thoughts have crossed my mind, and aside from sternly talking myself out of it, to date my strongest recourse has been to remember Rachael. Rachael was a friend in high school who, in her junior year (iirc) walked in to discover her mother had shot herself in the head. Rachael was 17. Rachael was messed up after that, blaming herself for not taking her mother’s depression and sadness seriously. To this day, twenty years later, she still struggles with it.

I don’t want that to be my kids. Time and time again I’ve reminded myself that my kids and my hubs would be devastated if I did that. And I don’t want them to struggle to come to terms with something I chose to do. They want to have mom around, even if my brain is lying to me and telling me that’s not true. So far this has worked well, it’s been able to keep me from making a final step. I have a lot to live for. I force myself to find the light in what seems to be a shroud of pure darkness.

The pressure is intense, the brain is a mighty manipulator at times, tricking us into believing things aren’t the way they are. It is exhausting, day after day to fight a brain that seems intent on its own demise.

Sometimes, people can’t, no matter how hard they try, see any reason to continue. It’s not being dramatic, it’s not being selfish, if anything it’s a result of years and years of trying hard to be strong, to hide the swirling doubt in their minds. Many other suicidal people I’ve talked with over the years have this mentality; the world would be better without me. Sometimes they pull themselves out of it, or reach out for help or have those who love them reach out to them. Sometimes, despite all our efforts, some people slip further than we can reach. They’re not weak. They’re not selfish. They’re tired of day in and day out. They want the pain, the exhaustion to just stop.

I’ve been thinking about this all day, after shedding tears for the traveling chef who lost his battle. After quietly mourning the fashion designer who seemed to have it all.

Reach out to that buddy you haven’t heard from in a while. Shoot a text or email or phone call to that friend who has struggled. Reach out, because chances are, at least in my experience, they might not be able or willing to reach out to you. If they’re like me, they won’t want to burden you with their problems, or be a downer. They might not respond right away, but at least they’ll know that you care.

Here are some resources for you. Share these please, you might unknowingly save a life.

Suicidepreventionlifeline.org  phone # 1-800-273-8255 
State by state list of resources here
Addiction Center and their 24/7 phone # is (855) 826-4464
https://www.befrienders.org/

Here’s another article I read after Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington took his life. Here

We have to do something, to acknowledge and not scoff at people struggling with Mental Illnesses. Our future as a society depends on it.

~*~

Writing: I managed 846 words on E1 last night after I posted over here. Figured out what had me stumped. Silly brain. Will try to get the next bit posted on Monday or Tuesday.

Reading: Finished reading The Magic Bakery by DWS. Good book, eye opening.

Be Kind to each other
~NPhoenix

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Dec
2017

December??

 

 

What happened to the year? 0.o

So here’s a bit of a yearly roundup.

Some things I’ve learned about me, I have to call off for the summer. There’s no getting around it, I just don’t do summers. I have no concentration, little motivation, and my demons are loudest through June and July. I’m really not able to get back to me until about september. I have to accept that I just don’t get anything writing wise done.

I jump the gun, a lot. I over plan then stress, then when I fail to reach my ridiculousgoals, I beat myself up. It’s self sabotaging, I get that. So I’m scaling things down a bit. BP’s edits got interrupted and I’m still trying to catch up. If you’re interested in checking out BP, I’m posting it, chapter by chapter over on the Patreon. The prologue and first chapter are free, fwiw.

The Patreon: Well, I’m working on making some changes to the goodies. I’m also considering posting other things, scenes, snippets, and tidbits from other stories, still wishy washy about that atm.

Wattpad: Did you know I still have the Wattpad? And E1 is still up? I put it back up here and Wattpad a few months ago, right before getting used as a landing pad for family. Long story, you really don’t want to know LOL. I’m also debating putting up other, free stuff over there. Let me know if there’s something you want to see more of.

I hope you all have a great holiday season, for whatever you celebrate.

Be Kind to one another!
~NPhoenix

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Oct
2017

October

Some things;

 

  • My stepson and his gf and their children stayed with us for a few months this summer.
  • I will never subject myself to that again. Seriously, that was a BAD idea.
  • Trying to get a handle on my health. Several issues have been neglected and have come to a head. I’m now getting them handled, but years of self neglect are taking their toll.
  • all of this has, of course, impacted my creative side. June and July are always bad months, with everything else, I was lucky I got anything done.

 

One of these days I need to sit down and do a series on Depression, Bipolar and Creativity. But at the moment I just don’t have the energy.

 

I am absolutely heartbroken over the events the other night in Las Vegas. When I was a kid, my grandfather would take me fossil hunting in the mountains around Vegas. They lived there for several years and we’d drive from San Diego to Las Vegas about once a month to visit. While I never called it home, it holds a special place in my heart. FWIW, the few folks I know personally who live there have all reported that they’re safe and sound.

On top of the horrors of the suffering in Puerto Rico and this incompetent administration’s response. On top of Houston, and the kids being here… I’m emotionally exhausted.

 

Writing:

So, easing back into writing. My brain is started to think in terms of stories again. I’m hoping it’s not a temporary thing.

One step at a time. I may have taken a hiatus, but it doesn’t mean I’m gone for good, or no longer writing or planning on publishing new stuff. I’m here, and I’m going to be around for a very long time, I can promise you that. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for me. Fun stuff.

 

I hope you are all doing well. Tonight I’m going to take a long bubble bath and read a book. And try to continue getting on with being ME.

Self care is important. Self care is vital to our mental health. There is nothing wrong, at all, with turning off social media, with getting back to the cosey nights reading a good book in the bath. Don’t neglect yourselves. Find what helps you cope in these difficult times and don’t let anyone or anything convince you, you shouldn’t do it.

Happy October folks. Take care. And please, be kind to each other.

~NPhoenix

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Jul
2017

oops

So I forgot to schedule the payment for the domain and the site was *poof* for a bit. Obviously I got it straightened out, but there was that moment of sheer ‘OH FUCK!’ that had me in a near panic when I realized what happened.

This is another way of saying June is not ever a good month.

From now on I think I’ll be shutting down for the summer. With kids* and things, I’m just too busy.

But back to school is just around the corner. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Writing;

I have memory issues, I won’t lie. I’m going to be bringing it up to the doctor at my next appointment. I went to schedule stuff for june, and… well I remember scheduling stuff. over at the patreon and here. I apparently didn’t. There aren’t drafts saved in the back office either here or patreon so I think I’m mis-remembering things.

This is kinda scary fwiw. it could be stress induced and up until this past week it’s been very stressful. Mind you there’s still stress stuff, but it’s not as severe/world is ending sorta stress. Or it could be some genuine issues. Either way my writing has ground to a halt as summer has progressed.

I’m working on getting caught up with stuff.

Bear with me.

 

Anywho, I hope you are all having a good summer. Mine has been good so far, stress aside.

 

~NPhoenix

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May
2017

Writing, Life, Politics, & Mental Health

This week has been busy, writing wise. Something in my head has clicked. I’ve been writing. Averaging 10 to 15 pages a day (2500 words or more). Scenes that have stumped me over the years have become clearer than ever and I’ve been scrambling to keep up with the ideas, scenes, and such. I’m starting to feel more like Me than I have in a long time. And I’m writing. And finishing.

Currently BP is sitting at just under 80k. I’m so very close to calling this completely DONE I can almost taste it LOL. Once it’s done, it’ll go off to the Beta readers, and I’ll schedule the rest of it over at the Patreon . And then I’ll re-focus on E1.

E1 is back up (I think I mentioned it last week, I don’t remember) and I’ll tackle the final edits and gap filling and get IT scheduled as soon as BP is firmly off the ‘to finish’ list.

Once those are done, well I’ve got a stack of unfinished things to finish finishing. >.>

So, with this resurgence in writing, it might seem that life has calmed down. Nope, it hasn’t. In fact on the 25th my 11 year old broke his pinky knuckle playing toss the football while he and a friend waited for the buss. I spent that evening at the ER and the following day trying to find an Orthopedic Surgeon. The 27th was spent in Dr’s offices, trying to determine WHAT to do (brace or cast. We opted for a cast fwiw).

Yet I’ve been pushing out words. Maybe only a few hundred, but still. Writing is something I love. And something that has been pushed aside. And that leads me to the cold hard truth about Mental Illness. Not only does it suck, it also causes a major disruption in a person’s life. And sometimes medication really is the best answer to the chemical imbalance in the brain that results in depression, mood swings, bi-polar and a list of other brain affected ailments.

About three weeks ago I was finally able to get back on my medication that helps with my issues. The fact the medication is doing its job, balancing out the chemical imbalance in my brain, is reflected in the fact that, holy shit, I can WRITE again. My focus isn’t perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it’s been.

Once upon a time, I used to average at 2 – 3k a day. Or between 8 and 10 pages a day.

I’ve been doing that again. And it is a wonderful feeling to be able to get back to being ME.

Seriously, if you’re going to spout off those ‘the only therapy/medication I need is a walk through the woods’ you can just go kiss my ass. Sorry, that doesn’t work for everyone. If it did, I’d never have these issues.

**clears throat**

ANYWAYS.

I’ve been doing more reading, and surprisingly it’s not as much fiction as one would think. I got several of Dean Wesley Smith‘s books, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s books and power read through them. Those have gone a long way it helping me find my writing footing again. Thanks Dean & Kris. In rereading their blogs I stumbled across the Writing Story Bundle over here (more about what the Story Bundle is over here). Part of the bundle includes one of Dean’s online lecture series on the Master Plot Formula. I already got the Writing as an Investment lecture series and WOW talk about eye opening. Even the hubs (not a reader OR writer) sat and listened to in, nodding his way through. So I knew the Master Plot Formula lectures would be as educational.

I was right (I started to type ‘write’ **snickers**)  Folks I would HIGHLY recommend investing in those two lecture series, at the very least do the Story Bundle and you get the one as part of the bundle (there are some really GOOD books in that bundle too). As a writer, in this day and age, educating yourself with the ins and outs of how the business works is a must. You can’t expect do be around for any length of time without understanding how it breaks down.

Changing one’s perspective and mindset is not easy. Especially when you’re fighting long held dreams. Especially when those dreams are founded on myth and not reality. I’ve re-connected with my writing/creative brain, due to a combo of the correct meds and changing how I look at writing.

The books I got which helped (not in the story bundle, I’m still working my way through those) were:

Dean’s books;

Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing
Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indi Publishing
Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Buisness Rules for Writing
How to Write Fiction Sales Copy  (I’m still reading on this one)
Think Like a Publisher

Kris’s Book

The Pursuit of Perfection (DUDES READ THIS)

Those were my birthday presents to myself.

 

Lets see there was something else writing wise I was going to mention but I forgot. I’ll remember later.

 

I was going to vent about politics, but I don’t have the heart to. What I will say it we are not done resisting and it’s going to be a long four years.

 

I think that just about wraps it up. OH I’ve deleted my livejournals. I’m over at Dreamwidth now (actually just dusted it off a bit) but I’m really bad about posting over there. https://necia-phoenix.dreamwidth.org/  Now it’s time to get back to writing.

I do have an FB and a twitter fwiw.

I hope you all have a wonderful peaceful weekend.

Please be kind to each other. ~ N.Phoenix

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Feb
2017

Happy Imbolc

 

January was a difficult month. I’ve seen over and over on FB, Jan was the trial month, Feb is when 2017 ACTUALLY starts. Something I really can’t argue with. This morning, as I was coming home from grabbing a quick (and unhealthy) bite to eat I got bushwacked by an idea for the Avaria series. It wasn’t forced, it was the result of beating my head against the wall begging the creativity in me to please crawl out of the hole, I won’t let the monsters get you. It just jumped me from behind the bushes and I got a huge insight into a beloved character and explanation for some of his motives in the series (note; this wasn’t a Zander scene fwiw).

After months of blank brain, anxiety and depressed brain, I had clairity. and something else, kindof a startling realization; no anxiety at all. Yes there are concerns, I’ve got a lot on my plate atm, but the anxiety isn’t there. Anyone who has dealt with anxiety can relate that wonderful fresh feeling of being able to clearly think. However long it lasts, I’m glad it’s here.

SO, I’ll be getting fresh content stuff up and scheduled at the patreon page. Please check it out, maybe share it if you like it. Thoughts, ideas and suggestions are always welcome (even if I don’t agree with them). I’m slowly going through the website to fix links and whatnot some of this is way overdue for a cleansing.

 

Politics –  Call your representatives. Write letters, share stories the media refuses to cover, and always ALWAYS check your sources! And if you have to, disconnect, take a walk, paint, write, turn off social media and the news, turn on a childhood fave, blast your music, let yourself rest and don’t, for the love of all that’s holy, DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR HAVING TO SELF-CARE.

Be kind to each other.

~NPhoenix

 

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Apr
2016

Creativity, Mental Illness and Me

 

Disclaimer: I do not speak for anyone else. Each person who struggles with mental illness has their own struggles. What works (or doesn’t work) for me, might have the opposite effect on others.
FWIW this is more of a Ramble, a sharing of a part of me I don’t think I’ve shared here before.

 

In 2011 I made a jump into self publishing. The story, The Shiny, was small, just a little concept/flash thing, but I self pubbed it and worked on others to get up. I was excited, I was motivated, and the more I look back at it, the more I’m convinced I was in a manic phase (not a good time to make major decisions such as self pubbing etc, fwiw). You see, I’m Bipolar. It is a condition in which the chemicals in my brain fluctuate wildly, and in cycles, I get really amped up, excited, go go go go, then I drop, I have a drop in mood I end up depressed and fighting to stay afloat.

I’m Bipolar 2, (I think that’s what they call it, I’m still trying to educate myself) which is the ‘milder’ form of the disorder. Most people don’t recognize my manic phases as mania, more ‘motivated, responsible, with it’. But my downswings, those are downright scary. I struggle to get out of bed, I struggle with feelings of self-worth, I fight the urge to just say fuck it and do something drastic, anything at all to feel better.

I was in denial for years until 2012 when I finally worked on getting it managed. Figuring out what worked and what didn’t and I found myself able to focus better and write. But writing when my depression was in full swing was like trying to pull teeth with a spoon. Made of warm jello. I wanted to write, I wanted to tell these stories that haunt me day and night, but I wasn’t enjoying it. Even with meds getting me on a steady mental state, I was still depressed, I was still chipping away at the iceberg with a toothpick and writing, writing became more a struggle than a release.

You see, when you’re severely depressed even the things that bring you pure joy mean nothing. My energy, my motivation, everything just gone. It’s weird, and annoying. I look over my plans and projects and I know I need to be writing, I know I need to finish stuff, to edit stuff to get stuff up and for sale. But then the doubts kick in and add to that the depression that has/had me convinced it was all shit anyways, well it made it harder to touch those projects especially when I was being crushed with guilt for not living up to my own high standards.

In 2014, in an effort to curb those feelings, I decided I was going to take a story I *thought* was ‘done’ and make it a serial. It shouldn’t take very long, I reasoned, to get it scheduled. Elemental Truth debuted and I was feeling good despite the depression. Then the bottom dropped out. In a matter of a few weeks our family’s life was turned upside down, we entered into a legal battle with our old landlord, my hubs started a new job and was suddenly away for weeks at a time, and I was facing legal issues with one of the kids and a major move all by myself. I didn’t pull E1, I was being stubborn. I can do it, I kept telling myself, I’m not going to pull the serial.

The problem is, the serial wasn’t as ‘done’ as I thought and the more I got into it, the more I realized that it needed a massive overhaul. But with everything else going on I just plugged away at it, the only thing I could really count on was getting that damn thing posted. For months, writing wise, I clung to that project, unmotivated but trying to force my way through it. Depression robs you of enjoyment, and though I enjoy that story I couldn’t feel it.

We’d just barely gotten things back to an even keel, into some semblance of normal when, last April, I got an unexpected call from my SIL; my FIL passed away unexpectedly.

Goodbye even keel. Goodbye semblance of normal. We hauled ass out to OK for the funeral, then returned only to discover my hubs company suddenly struggling. The last year has been spent trying to recoup from that. The depression got worse when, in Sept (or Aug) our insurance changed due to job changes and I was unable to get my meds.

Imagine a diabetic unable to get their insulin, imagine a person in chronic pain, unable to get their pain control meds. It is that serious. My depression was crushing, the stories, the writing, the serial in limbo. It was a struggle, fighting my own brain and I think that I noticed it even more this go round because I’d been on the meds, now off the meds and suddenly no management of anything at all. And the longer I go with it managed, the greater the drop when those meds are yanked away.

I’ve now been back on my meds just over a week, and I feel the difference. I’m starting to find focus, things are a bit easier. It’s still a daily battle, an ongoing struggle to keep myself frown drowning in the hopeless feelings.

So how is this going to affect my writing and future publications?

Honestly I’m not too sure. I’m hoping that as I get more settled I’ll be able to stick to my routines and get back to writing regularly. I’m not going to give a timeframe, not yet. Not till I’m sure I’m a bit more stable. Right now, every little paragraph is a triumph, every day I don’t just delete all my writing* it a success.

I do *hope* to have Elemental Truth ready for publication by the fall, and Bastard Prince for sale in time for Christmas. But I also have to be realistic, I have a lot going on in my life outside of my writing, there’s still fallout from last years job issues and money issues, and I don’t want to make promises I end up breaking. I always feel like a flake when that happens, I know logically it’s because I have this stupid chemical imbalance in my brain and that for a long time it was completely unmanaged. But I still feel like I should have done more, tried harder, followed my schedule, guilt, guilt, guilt…

Yeah I’m great with the self-guilt-ting. I once told a friend, I don’t need people to guilt trip me, I do a great job all by myself -.-

There you have it, mental illness and how it affects ME as a writer. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with it. If you, the reader, also struggles with it, just know you’re not alone. And what the depression tries to tell you, well trust me it lies.

 

*I almost deleted everything a couple months ago, I was that low.

Please note I had to make a couple edits after I posted it. Sorry.

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