Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Can't You Just Be Happy?

I feel like I'm an open book as far as my depression and anxiety go, but after thinking about it lately I've realized I'm quite the opposite. If someone asks me how I'm doing or has questions about depression I'm always happy to answer them as openly and honestly as I can. That being said, people don't ask. People don't do it out of meanness, they simply don't want to know. They're scared to. How can someone be so down all the time? How hard is it to just be happy?

The answer to that question is that it is, indeed, very hard. Trust me, it's a question I ask myself every single day, and the only thing it accomplishes is making me feel even worse. So, to those who haven't experienced depression and want to know what it's really like, what your loved ones are actually going through, please continue reading.

On a good day you live your life in a fog. Everything seems hazy and blurry and fuzzy. You can touch things, but you don't feel them. You see things, but you don't take them in. Not really. You find yourself walking around in a this numb state, and honestly sometimes it is kind of nice. It's nice not to have to feel the emotions you're having (or should be having). Except that four out of five days you spend staring at the computer screen or out the window waiting for something, anything, to change. Nothing does. Every once in a while the fog will lift and you'll feel like yourself again. Somehow it's both exhilarating and horrifying at the same time. You can see life as it should be, how others see it. But it's difficult to live that way because it's a feeling you don't feel too often, and you spend every waking moment wondering when the fog will return again. It's a feeling you can't even let yourself enjoy for fear of it being snatched away.

On an okay day it's cloudy. Always cloudy. You're so lost in your own emotions (or lack thereof) that you can barely do anything else. Everything is difficult. Getting out of bed is hard. Walking the dog is hard. Checking the mail is hard. Having to pretend to everyone that you're actually really okay is the hardest of them all. Sometimes, for a brief moment, the clouds will part and you can see the sun, but only from a distance. You're never close enough to feel its warmth on your face or to chase the rainbow you can almost see far in the distance. The clouds quickly come back together and you'll swear you imagined it entirely.

On a bad day, it storms. Always. Relentless, torrential rain that doesn't let up, no matter what you do. You may spend a while trying to calm the storm or stop it completely, but eventually you stop trying. It's too exhausting. It's easier to sit and let the downpour engulf you completely. It's easier to let it take over you and become you than it is to waste the energy trying to deal with it. You become wet with rain to your very core and just when you think you can't bear it any longer, you somehow find the strength to go about your daily life as if everything is totally and completely fine. You push the horrid thoughts to the back of your mind  attempt to move on. You pretend, you fake it. But no matter how much you pretend,  that doesn't mean it stopped raining. It never stops raining.

I urge you to be there for each other. Be accepting of your loved ones, because their hardships are your hardships, their pain is your pain. Even if they don't or can't voice their feelings, you can still support them. You can still let them know that they are actually loved and cared for and appreciated. Because, those of us who live in the misty fog tend to forget that.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dumbledore's Army of Austin, TX

I've been looking for a Harry Potter group since I came to Austin seven years ago. There used to be one, but they quit meeting ages ago and have since fallen apart as far as I can tell. I kept waiting and waiting for one to pop up, but none ever did. I assumed there simply wasn't enough Harry Potter fans in the Austin area. Man was I wrong.

This past Saturday was the Geeks Who Drink #GeekyCauldron quiz, a Harry Potter themed quiz. Our team was quickly formed and we competed in the quiz, placing 7th out of 99 (yes 99!!) teams. It was crazy intense and probably the most fun I've had in a long time. It was fantastic to be around people who take Harry Potter as seriously as I do (srsbsns).

Long story short there were easily 300 people at the event, so the thought I had about there not being a big enough Harry Potter community in the Austin area was blown out of the water. Instead of waiting for someone to form a group, I've formed my own.

I created Dumbledore's Army of Austin, TX (or DAA) and somehow already have 15 members! Yes some are my friends obviously, but some are people I don't even know, which is very exciting to me. Hopefully I'll make NEW friends! So if you live in the Austin area and like Harry Potter, feel free to join. (It's a Facebook group so you will have to have a Facebook account.) I will probably organize a meetup of some sort some (maybe around Harry/JK's birthday on the 31st?), we'll have to see what the response to it is.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

There are few books I can reread over and over. For the most part the thing I like most about books and reading is trying to figure things out before the writer actually tells me. I think really that's one of the main reasons I love the Harry Potter series so much, JK Rowling kept me guessing until pretty much the very end of the last book, which is a hard thing to do.

Last week me and a few other gals started the #HPReadAThon where we'll spend the next few weeks rereading the entire Harry Potter series. It's been a few years for me, so it's almost like new again (almost). I think this is one of the first time I've read the series through the eyes of a writer, though. I paid extra attention to the words that were used and the way they were used to try to figure out what makes them so captivating. Honestly? It's not the words so much as the characters, character development, and story line. Yes the words are lovely, but they are for the most part very simple (albeit clever). Kind of helped me to see things I could improve on to make my work a bit better.

Tonight (after I get my 1K written for the day), I'll start Chamber of Secrets. I read Sorcerer's Stone pretty quickly, but I know as the story line progresses my reading will slow to soak in ALL THE THINGS. If you would like to join me, feel free to comment here, email me, tweet me, or message me on Facebook. We aren't really going at a planned pace, so you can still catch up!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Harry Potter Summer Read-A-Thon

My love for Harry Potter is no secret. Before each film came out I made it a point to reread all seven books. Then when the movies were over (SOOOOOB) I reread them every summer. Due to various circumstances (mostly laziness), it's been a few years since I've been able to do it. This summer I'm hoping to change that! I'd love to get a little reading group together and try to have some sort of structured read-along. Like maybe a book a week or something? Seems reasonable. If you're interested in joining contact me via Twitter, Facebook, Email, or by commenting on this post. I'll set up some sort of group (more than likely a Facebook group because it's the easiest, and it'll be private so as not to clog everyone's feed or whatever) and we'll go from there. Excited to reread the series that made me fall in love with the written word with y'all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Depression and Creativity

I've made it no secret about my struggle with depression over the past year and a half or so. I have, however, glossed over a bit as to how it's impacted me creatively. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and have decided that it's time for me to be more public about it and ask for advice.

I have been on Zoloft since October of 2012. It took over a full year for me to finally get to a dosage that suited me and actually helped. During this time I was a mess and life seemed more overwhelming and frustrating than ever. Mainly because I was ON medication but it simply wasn't working. Until November of 2013 when the doctor upped my dosage one final time and everything seemed to click into place. At least, I thought it did.

Ever since I started taking the Zoloft I have been blocked creatively. I simply haven't been able to write, read, or do anything that I used to enjoy that involved the written word. I used to write around 1,000 words a day; now I'm lucky if I get 100 words a week. I watch TV a lot now (which I never did before). I think because it's mind-numbing and something I don't really have to think about much. Watching people pick out ridiculously expensive houses in the Bahamas is easier than pounding my head against the laptop in shame.

It's not that I don't want to write. I DO. DESPERATELY. I have always had big dreams and goals. This may sound weird but I've never really failed at anything. Not when it mattered, anyway. And the fact that I'm failing at this makes me sick to my stomach. It then brings up the argument I always have with myself about not being good enough, not being a "real" writer, etc. Which is a slippery slope for me and probably everyone that deals with anxiety/depression. Once one thing goes wrong, everything follows suit and you're soon in a cycle of self-doubt that you cannot see the end of. 

I write all that to ask this: Are you on any medication for depression or anxiety? Do you feel like it hinders you creatively? Did you change medications? Did it help? I'm not against changing medications. However, I'm not looking forward to the side effects of going off one medication to try who knows how many others. It's frustrating to me that I feel like I have to choose between being a sane person and being a writer and it saddens me to see how often the two go hand-in-hand with each other. I'm finally at a good point mentally and I don't want to mess that up, but I refuse to believe that it's simply impossible for me to be mentally stable AND write. I also refuse give up on my dream. Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

(Yes, these are words, but I found this on Post Secret and thought it was perfect for a Wordless Wednesday after my previous post this week. Happy New Year, everyone.)