Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The good sides

I have more social life than I did in ten years.
I feel loved and appreciated and cared for.
I get to sing, tabletop roleplay and do yoga - stuff I missed doing for years.
I started believing Ghoula when she tells me 'way to go, you're handling this amazingly!'
I realized that this could have been 2003 all over again, but for now it's not. That's amazing. 
I got on anti depressants, which I refused to do for years, and by all that's holy I'm never getting off that stuff ever in my life. 
I read about 500% more than I did before.
I lost my guild, which, before, would scare me and break my heart; but suddenly when it happened it's a rather heavy weight of constant worry and frustration off my shoulders, and I joined a guild where I'm not in charge and it feels carefree and nice, and wonderfully distracting. And I wouldn't have dared to do it if bad times didn't happen.

That's enough optimism for one night, right? And I have to go to sleep anyway. I have social life in the morning. That is so. Bloody. Strange. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Anti Depressants

They took effect two days after the first pill, which is very uncommon and very lucky (and runs in the family, it seems). In 2003 it was Prozac, the side effects of which, on me, were downright dreadful.

Sixteen years and three medicine generations later, Cipralex is the toned down version of that. The side effects are very unpleasant, but utterly worth it. Without it, I think I'd have been just as much as a wreck, possibly an insane wreck, as I was back then.

A few friends asked me what the side effects are, and I end up saying what the doctor told me: it's extremely individual. On me, it's nausea, drowsiness, the occasional insomnia, memory problems and sinusitis. But it's also something that numbs, I'd say, about 70% of the emotional distress; as long as one is being careful with their sleeping pill dosage - and I make sure never to take more than half a pill a week - it's absolutely worth it.

I wish I'd started taking those 10 years ago. My current dosage is an emergency one, the highest allowed; but when I was on half that, it just toned down all the distracting emotional noise that's always been a part of my life. Rather than everything impacting me very strongly, I can shrug at what's useless to take in. I wonder if this is how normal people feel by default, and I'm certainly very, very grateful to have finally gotten on this. Now just to wait for the body to get used to the side effects and hopefully for them so subside, and then never stopping taking this for as long as I live. This is so very helpful.

*

It's a bad week - I'm not sure why; nothing changed, but it's as if despite the max dosage the sadness leaks through. Or perhaps the fear. The medicine makes it so I don't feel the fear so much, emotionally speaking, but my body certainly does; and it took me a while to understand that was I was physically feeling was a full on five hour long panic attack, only without the emotion part of it. It's weird, but it's so infinitely better than the alternative.

*

Ghoula says I'm going through this like a champ, and it's nice to hear. I'm not a teenager anymore; there's a balance between not-burden-people and knowing to ask for help when you're going through the worst your emotions can inflict on you. And I'm getting counseling, and seeing a doctor, and taking medication, and making sure to regularly get out of the house (or out of bed) and to try and generate excuses to toy with Blender (hence looking for a guild to roleplay in, more for the peace inspiration brings than for the entertainment).

But times when my mind can wonder are hard. Showers, walks, buses, doing the dishes. If I don't keep busy my mind goes places and then I fall apart. I'm told there's no harm or shame in falling apart; that I can break down crying for three hours and I'll be better for it; but I'm so scared of doing it, of touching, thinking or triggering the pain - the fear - that I'm constantly fleeing. And writing this now I realize it might be counterproductive; I should really try to induce that and see what happens. It sounds healthier. It also sounds like it might make me want to die, which my mind always found all too easy and appealing a solution in the face of fear, which really is a dick move on everyone around me.

So I'm being a responsible adult and I'm doing everything I can think of and most of what I'm advised to do and it's really quite unpleasant. And I'm not so much hoping it will end as much as I'm waiting, because time heals everything etcetc, and perhaps with all this responsible behaviour and medicine it won't take two years this time.

But honestly; don't blame me for wishing a piano fell on my head and made all this go away. Allow me this one teenager vice; we're all kids deep inside. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Bad times but Blender helps

Nobody's ill or dead, and that's about the only thing I'm okay with saying, because it's been two months of very bad. I don't write about it because I don't want to talk about it, to anyone; and I don't want to whine; and I don't want to talk about it. But if I meet people, or write here, I might end up doing just that. So I avoid it.

Not sure when this will end, but when it started my brain did a flip of panic right into 2003 and that, in turn, made me go all out fighting it. I refuse to go bonkers again, and although it's the same kind of literally crippling fear, I'm a grown up with a few years of therapy so it's not 2003 again, plus I immediately ran to the doctor to take the friendliest, mildest anti depressant there is, and oh boy does this do wonders to me or what. It doesn't solve the problem, but it neutralizes the deafening noise that makes solving the problem impossible.

And it's been, oh, two months now? And it would have been hell without the medicine; I'm not sure I'd be here at all if it wasn't for the medicine. But as it is, I'm relying on full-time distractions. Gaming doesn't interest me much now, and there's only one book that does; and I can't study so well, and we shut down the guild because one can't run it when things are like this. But no guild - no roleplaying - no inspiration - no blender. No blender in one of the three worst periods of time I've had in my life.

In 2003 I'd have just sat there like a zombie, but responsible grown ups move their asses even if they don't want to get out of bed ever again, so I did what's needed and I got some roleplaying and I kind of had to dig deep and give myself a kick in the backside but I scraped a picture to make and asked the player if they agree, mostly to feel there will be someone happy with me at the end.

It's been six weeks of days stretching, long and scary, and nights stretching, long and scary, and respite only in distractions and those don't always work; but yesterday, without much enthusiasm and with a bit of forcing I sat to Blender and those were the fastest five hours of the past six weeks. Even without much excitement, it's still the best time killer ever.

I don't want to open commissions. I can't commit to anything like this and I don't want to take money for stuff I don't know if I can deliver within reasonable time. But I really hope I can at least get some roleplaying so I can burn time like this, as much as I can, until this is over.

And I really, really don't want to talk about it; but I wanted to say that Blender is awesome, and that I can do it even now, when stuff's bad and when I'm medicated to the eyeballs, and while I don't really feel enjoyment, I certainly feel relief - and that's good.

It's past midnight, somehow, and I didn't even look at the clock since six. This is very good. I knew I loved Blender; but I'm astonished I've been off it for a month and I'm really grateful I discovered it again now. So I'll go back to that.


.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Piper At The Gates

Daddy loved all his gifts. He delighted in the new Blade Runner (which was surprisingly good, we all thought); he laughed in Deadpool; he enjoyed the books, the company and the attention, and I couldn't hope for better. Brother loved his gift too. And - no fighting; brother has my back, fiercely, and daddy not only acts with respect for my wishes, he also evidently respects me now, which is all the difference. To be in a place where I feel appreciated and loved; that was nice.

I read The Wind In The Willows when I was there, for the first time ever. It deserves every bit of its glory, and the Shepard illustrations are as captivating and sweet as the immortal ones he made for Winnie The Pooh. And there's a few scenes in the book which are so spot on, so emotional and captivating they brought tears to my eyes.

The last time I watched the Eurovision was in the eighties, but we were chatting in the living room and the Eurovision happened on the screen and Israel won, with a kickass song and a kickass singer. And it's going to remain a very pleasant memory now, daddy and me holding hands and talking about everything, anything, with those sappy happy completely fake lyrics and utterly genuine emotions happening on screen.

"This is called raising the sun", said the pilot; we were flying north, seconds after sunset; it was dark - but we were chasing the sun, and it was incredible - because as we did, I saw the sun rising over the western horizon. It was mind boggling. It also sparked a conversation with the guy next to me and we didn't stop talking until the landing; another nice memory. 

And... home. Some sort of weird acceptance of things; perhaps less of a struggle against what's happening. I think it's healthier, but it feels like giving up. Whatever; being so afraid 24/7 is draining. 

Kissed husband. Sat to Blender. Made tea. Listened to The Last Ship. It's all the tropes of normality, but nothing is. So weird. And the Big Shit didn't even hit the fan yet. Gosh, life. Why you do. You're so scary I sometimes wonder who's the nutcase weirdo that has the guts to face you at all.  

Friday, 11 May 2018

Dad's birthday

I'll never get used to this - sitting in an airport with my Blender tutorials, when having to kill 1.5 hours stops being a nuisance and becomes a welcome thing. This is liberty.

It's daddy's 75th birthday in a few days, so this weekend it's him, me and bro celebrating that; bro didn't get to see me around his birthday - he rarely does - so I'm sort of thinking of this as his birthday celebration too. And my birthday is in three weeks, but I don't feel like celebrating life. I know I should, I'm working on it, but the general feeling is 'what's there to celebrate', and I wouldn't know what to do to celebrate it, anyway.

But I got daddy gifts and I'm excited to see him enjoying them. I got him the book he asked for, but then I got some surprises: A Legacy of Spies, the latest John Le Carre book, because Lucky thought he'd enjoy it;  The Storyteller dvds, because I know they'd make him happy and they're still amazing; The new Blade Runner because he's not likely to see it in the cinema and even if it's shit (I don't know if it is, I haven't seen it yet) it needs watching in salute to the classic; and the first Deadpool, because the dad that gives me a thumbs up and an impressed 'respect!' when I tell him of the one night stands of my youth, the man that taught me every filthy word in the book before I was nine, will certainly enjoy that.

And daddy's birthday is mum's birthday, too; but I try not to think about that. And I'm grateful I don't have to visit the grave on that day.

But I think the strangest thing of all is this, this friendship with daddy. I was wrapping the gifts today and suddenly realized that it's the first time in years, so many that I can't remember, that I bought him something out of love and not out of fear.

Brother is getting my spare copy of Three Hearts and Three Lions, in the lovely Hebrew Emmanuel Lotem translation, and that, too, feels like giving him a piece of my heart. It's one of my top three favourite books, and he never read it. I hope he'll enjoy it, and I'm happy I had a copy to spare because they're bloody hard to find.

I'm looking forward to spending two days with dad and bro, only the three of us; and that, too, is a miracle too grand to grasp. That's really, really nice.

Monday, 30 April 2018

It was never my expectation for the hardest thing about sitting in a cafe every day to be seeing babies. I guess there's not battling the biological clock; I see them and melt and want one, regardless of all my past opinions.

I love this new habit. Staying cooped up in the house all day every day wasn't healthy. Now it's sunlight, and people, and complimenting the waitress who looks and moves like a Tolkien elf, and forgives me my embarrassing outbreaks of random bummer.

...There's so many babies around. It's crazy. There's one drooling at me right now, in the table right across from me, held in his beautiful mother's arms. She's got some post-labour padding which makes her look like the poster woman for a renaissance fair farmer girl; a dusting of freckles, untidy hair, wide mouth, bright eyes and the general air of being as fresh as a spring apple. She's so nice looking I wish I could paint her, or at least tell her that, but I don't want to embarrasse her.

...Yeah, okay, I went and told her and she was very pleased. The baby is a girl, she's three months old, and her mother isn't complimented often enough. Up close she was even sweeter. I wish I could paint her and show what I see.

This is usually my Blender practice time, where I watch tutorials and try them out to fill up the two hours I'm meant to spend outside; but I have stuff to finish before tonight which requires my desktop. I wish I could stay here, though; sun and people and music and babies and nice coffee, so much better than the crawling stagnation I feel there lately. Maybe it was there all along; maybe it's just the contrast to the outside, now that I got to see it a bit.

...Is that a whiff of the smell of daffodills? In May? I must be imagining. It's so nice.

It's nice to just sit and see things. I turned to look at the flowers behind me and found an army of fat, metallic-looking flies on it, some five or six. Flies are revolting, but somehow here - perhaps away from my own computer and thoughts - I remember everything is interesting. Why are they all on that flower? The way they perch, the descending angle of the back of their body, the proportions and way they alternate between rubbing the back or front legs.

(And I remember that huge spider in Thailand, or the cockroach I saw lazily wandering down the street in full daylight, and how I stopped to inspect them - and the orchids - and the architecture - I miss observing. I miss... tropics and... I think it's the studying I did for Dynamic Sketching class. There was quiet in it).

But I should go home, I should. There's no flies to study there, but that's really likely more of an upside.

I think things are a little better. Some few percent better. Here's careful optimism.

...My gods, that woman is so pretty.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Laptop, cafe, fossil

Magical Coach of Awesome said 'your homework is to get out of the house, every single day, for two hours. Sun, people, whatever'. I love homework, and 80% of what she let me try did wonders, so here I am - and it's really weird. Because I'm the generation that grew up without internet, and I still refuse to have it on my phone; so sitting in a cafe with a laptop and doing Blender, or researching how to solve technical stuff, or sending guildies life hack tips I think they might find useful - that's so weird. I feel like an absolute fossil, reveling at this; but I suppose the more constructive attitude would be to say 'whoah, I love this new world. I love living in such times'. 

I needed another round of Coach because stuff accumulated and surfaced; but even now when things are a tiny bit less shiny than usual, I notice the change - the fact I can genuinely forgive myself the fossilness rather than be only embarrassed with it; the fact I do what I'm told to make things better; and the fact I'm actually really enjoying knowing that I have to get up, put on normal clothes rather than the comfy house tatters, and get out to the sun and society. I wouldn't have expected it. 

It's also fun to just be able to solve technical problems on the go. Blender suddenly not working on laptop? Quick google, some fiddling, bam. Insta-feeling capable and resourceful and happy.

I've been on a Blender spree for the past two years, but this past month has been explosive because we had the funmost roleplay expedition ever - our guild of archaeologists got to the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale and I think husband came up with an awesome plot that made me feel as if I'm in a proper Indiana Jones adventure; combined with really, really great people - the best guild combination I've ever been in, I think, in eleven years - mostly thanks to the Graces girls, but not only - I just couldn't stop making pictures, even more than normal. I hope to wrap up this round of crazy inspiration within two days and then possibly splurge some excitement about it here. 

But for now I'm in the cafe and I don't think my laptop can handle video editing; I'll therefore go and do my homework for the day, which is modeling some random asset in Blender. Aaaaaand getting another cup of coffee and smiling at the waitress again and relaxing and enjoying; this is the life.