Dealing with Depression, Part 1

Dealing with Depression, Part 1

CW: Depression, anxiety, life trauma (though no specific details), implied suicide (briefly)

Some More Blapril Advice

Something that struck me, as I was about to sit down to write this post, is that it may come off as an apology for being gone, which I don’t want it to be. I want it to be more of a… recounting of what I’ve been going through to (1) get it off my chest, (2) provide assistance to those that may be in a similar situation, and (3) give me some content for the day. But it made me think of a final tidbit of advice, especially for those picking up serious content creation for the first time.

You don’t need to apologize for disappearing for a while. Some of us fall off the face of the earth in the blogosphere, and that’s okay. Honestly, creating apology posts time and time again makes it feel like blogging is more of a chore, rather than an outlet of your choosing. It’s something that most of us bloggers are guilty of doing, but it’s something that we should get away from. As a reader, most of us don’t care to read apologies—we’re still here, reading, so we just want to get into what you’ve been doing!

So don’t worry if this pace you take in Blapril is too much, and you disappear for a few months. When you come back, do so with a pace that works for you. Make sure that you enjoy what you’re doing, and keep with whatever schedule you decide to set for yourself!

Chronic Illness, Round Infinity, FIGHT!

I had mentioned in my initial I’m-participating-in-Blapril post that I’ve been on a hiatus of sorts, but I’m starting to feel better enough to carve time out for myself to get back to blogging. For those that don’t know (whether you’ve not read past blog posts where I mention it, or don’t follow me on Twitter), I suffer from some pretty intense depression and anxiety (among some other chronic illnesses), and I have as long as I can remember.

Most of my life has been caught up in the symptoms of depression, but I’ve never addressed it outside of a few free therapy sessions I got in college, and a few sessions with a therapist I didn’t particularly care for over ten years ago. I’ve been with my current therapist for about five years at this point (has it really been that long?), and she is a salve that I very much appreciate.

However, there’s only so much that therapy can do for someone that suffers from chemical imbalances (thanks, genetics!) in the brain. Therapy has done a great job in giving me coping mechanisms for my anxiety, but it never fully tackled that, or my depression. I’ve been in survival mode for so long in my life, that I’ve been scraping rock bottom and not even realizing it.

The catalyst moment, however, was when I went to go read a comic volume, and realized that a few pages in, I couldn’t remember what I had read the few pages previously. And I burst into tears.

Reading is something that I’ve loved doing since I was a kid. I used to devour hundreds of books a year, and was an avid visitor of my local library growing up. I would travel with a book and get so engrossed out at events that my parents would have to take my book away to get my attention and get me to participate (ugh, extroverts 😉 ). I stopped reading so much when I met my ex-husband, and never particularly got back into it because I couldn’t find the “time” (it was more that I was recovering from lots of trauma and just didn’t have the capacity along with the depression).

Anyways. Realizing that I was unable to do something that I adored was finally the straw on the camel’s back to get me to take antidepressants for (mostly) the first time in my life.

Antidepressants and Me

Growing up, my parents didn’t want to believe that I was suffering from depression, so I got very good at pretending to be normal. I think this is something that a lot of folks with depression get good at. It’s a coping mechanism that we develop fairly quickly, because nobody ever wants to hear about it (and then folks always say, “I never realized they were depressed!” when someone tries to leave this life because they can’t pretend anymore… but we’re straying from the topic at hand, no?).

I probably should have been on antidepressants at a young age, but it’s not something my parents wanted to entertain. Briefly, in the early 2010s I was on antidepressants for a month (given to my by my GP), but I don’t think they ever did anything, and I’m not sure why my GP decided to take me off of them after that month. Regardless, I was in an abusive relationship with someone who told me that my depression was all in my head (no pun intended). So I never did anything about it after that.

Fast forward to just before Thanksgiving, 2019. I had my first ever appointment with a psychiatrist, and I was terrified. There’s so many side-effects you read about with taking antidepressants, and I was so scared that I would experience all of them (especially loss of sex-drive—if you know anything about me, you know I’m a very lewd and sexual person, and I was terrified of losing that part of me). But I’d promised myself, my therapist, and Manthing that I’d go to the appointment and get a prescription, and take them. I don’t know how I made it to the appointment. I’m sure that knowing Manthing was going to go with me and wait for me just so I had some support was the biggest help.

So I started taking them. And it was a roller-coaster, let me tell you. There’s so much out there that folks don’t tell you about taking antidepressants, that I want to cover them, and my journey, for you. I had initially thought to do it in this post, but I think I’m going to do so in another post tomorrow so that this one doesn’t drag on too far.

This is post 2/31 for Blapril. You can find out more and sign up at Belghast’s original post. You can view those participating on Twitter via the Twitter list I put together. Nogamara of Battlestance has put together an RSS feed of all Blapril participants.
Real Talk for Blapril

Real Talk for Blapril

Past Advice

It’s that time in Blapril where we work through prep week. Prep week is essentially where those of us who’ve been around and think we have things to share about blogging as a whole, do so. I’ve written three posts in the past (during Blaugust) with advice on blogging, and the event itself.

Impostor Syndrome and Your Blog – Ignore the first half of the blog post, and scroll down to the second half! I discuss what Impostor Syndrome is, why it’s probably more common with seasoned bloggers than you think, and ways to tackle it if you notice it bubbling up to the surface.

Some Last Advice – While outdated, the tidbit of wisdom it drops is that… running events like these are difficult! If you can make it easier for Bel to count posts, please do! Use the appropriate hashtag (#Blapril2020) when posting to social media. And think about adding a counter to your sidebar or somewhere within your posts. It helps, believe me!

When Chronic Illness Strikes – Many of us bloggers deal with some form or another of visible or invisible chronic illnesses. I list out some of my own methods for tackling blogging whilst dealing with my own chronic illness in an attempt to help others make the most of their spoons in relation to blogging.

This Year’s Advice

This year, Blapril came up as a kind of solution, if you will, to the isolation many are feeling with COVID-19. And really, the only advice I have at this time for Blapril is something related to what Matt Haig posted on Twitter.

Honestly, if you don’t hit your goal for Blapril, or start and can’t finish… you’re still achieving something. We (the collective we) are dealing with a shared traumatic experience. Trauma can screw with even the most neuro-typical person, and even more so with those who’ve past trauma of many different types. It can make you feel “unproductive”, but really, you just getting through the day is productive enough. Don’t beat yourself up over not blogging or creating content, okay? You’re allowed to be still with your thoughts, and take one day at a time.

This is post 1/31 for Blapril. You can find out more and sign up at Belghast’s original post. You can view those participating on Twitter via the Twitter list I put together.
Back with Blapril

Back with Blapril

It’s that time of year, again! Blaugust! I mean… Blapril!

I’ve been on a… hiatus of sorts, I suppose. It’s something I’ll get into in another more detailed post (I don’t want to churn out too many posts before Blapril starts), but suffice to say, I’m feeling well enough to start carving out some more time for myself and getting back to blogging.

I had intended to come back about now, to begin with, but it just happens that the ever-amazing Belghast has moved up his Blaugust blogging event to help get the blogging community feeling better amongst all the COVID gloom that’s overshadowed everyone’s life at the moment.

It’s a wonderful event, full of wonderful people, so be sure to sign up and join in if you’re interested in getting into blogging, getting back to blogging, or already blogging and looking to make more friends! You can view more information at Bel’s Blapril post, sign up at this form, and join the community discord, as well!

My goal is to try and make 31 posts between March 29 and May 9. This is not a pace that I will keep up with long term, but it is one that will help me to get back into the swing of content creation outside of my adult entertainment work.

IntPiPoMo 2019 Results

IntPiPoMo 2019 Results

IntPiPoMo 2019

First, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who participated this year! It was a rough month personally, and seeing everyone’s posts made things a little bit brighter. (Alphabetical by blog name.)

Statistics

I’m a sucker for data, so I like providing little tidbits of information every wrap-up.

  • Fifteen (15) total blogs participated in the challenge this year (including my own participation). This was approximately the same number of blogs as last year (13)!
  • All fifteen (15) blogs posted at least 5 images!
  • Twelve (12) blogs posted at least 25 images.
  • Eleven (11) blogs posted at least 50 images.
  • Ten (10) blogs went above and beyond the 50 images, which is a new record!
  • The highest number of posted images was 133, followed by 67, and 65.

Congratulations!

Let’s review what our prizes are and see who wins them!

  • Grand Prize – Of all participants who complete 50 images, I will be using a RNG (random.org) to draw a winner for a game up to $15 on Steam (game time for an MMO can be worked out if preferred)!
  • Three Other Prizes – Of all participants who complete 25+ images (up to and including those who make it to 50), I will be using a RNG (random.org) to draw three winners for a game up to $10 on Steam!
My Little Indrik

My Little Indrik

IntPiPoMo Update

IntPiPoMo is almost at an end, but I wanted to give a quick shout out to those that signed up to participate this year. I’ve been lurking on posts, and it’s been fun to see how everyone interprets their participation in IntPiPoMo. It’s been a light in a pretty dark month to read everyone’s posts. (Blogs are listed in alphabetical order.)

My Little Indrik

I’ve been grinding my way through the events in ESO as much as possible, mainly because I enjoy collecting mounts, and think the Indriks are interesting creatures. I finally got enough berries and feathers to unlock my first ever Indrik, and I’m in love! The Onyx Indrik is delightfully glamour goth, and it makes me happy the way it appears when you mount it. While I enjoy collecting mounts, this one is going to be my main for a long while.

Witches Festival

I was surprised that the Witches Festival wasn’t as involved as other holiday events I’m used to in other MMOs. The quest for the reward item was simple, and over sooner than I expected. But the hovel the witch lived in was fun for screenshots.

This post is a part of IntPiPoMo! You can find out more about IntPiPoMo and find the sign up form at this post. IntPiPoMo Count: 17/50
November ’19 Gaming Goals

November ’19 Gaming Goals

September/October Recap

September and October ended up being a bit of a… rough few months this year, much like it was last year. So I haven’t done much gaming for a plethora of reasons, including but not limited to depression, emergency pet health, and my own physical health. As such, I didn’t particularly meet many of my September goals between the two months.

  • Hit CP 150 on Warden (ESO) – As of the end of October, I’m at 190 CP. Which is probably much slower going than many other folks I know, but I’m surprised I’ve gotten this far with as casually as I’ve been playing.
  • Ding level 50 on Conjurer (FFXIV) – For now I’ve cancelled my FFXIV subscription. I logged in twice over the course of September, and not at all during October. I very much want to get back to it, but do not have the mental capacity to handle more than one game right now.
  • Finish Auridon (ESO) – I surprisingly managed to complete this at the start of October. Grahtwood is another story, however.
  • Finish Grahtwood (ESO) – I am nowhere near finishing this. I have barely started it due to not having the capacity to do so. Depression is a bitch.
  • Finish City of the Sun God (SWL) – Once again, I am nowhere near finishing this. I haven’t logged into the game in almost two months.
  • Finish side missions in Blue Mountains (SWL) – I think I’ve finished this one? I’d have to log in to check, so we’ll leave it as unfinished for now.
  • Finish next route in Sweet Fuse (Otome) – I didn’t even open my Vita case the past two months.
  • Figure out a game for #SportSeptember and play it (Community Game-Along) – Again, with a lack of energy to be able to handle even the games I want to play, I did not make it to the Community Game-Along.

November Goals

  • Hit CP 215 on Warden (ESO)
  • Finish Grahtwood (ESO)
  • Finish Witches Festival quest (ESO)
  • Finish next two routes in Sweet Fuse (Otome/Community Game-Along)
This post is a part of IntPiPoMo! You can find out more about IntPiPoMo and find the sign up form at this post. IntPiPoMo Count: 1/50
Time for IntPiPoMo 2019!

Time for IntPiPoMo 2019!

What is IntPiPoMo?

IntPiPoMo, or International Picture Posting Month is the image equivalent of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo focuses on writing 50,000 words over the course of the month of November. So, if a picture is a thousand words, that means that IntPiPoMo requires fifty pictures. Makes perfect sense.

These can be anything from screenshots from any game, to photographs you take in real life and want to share on your blog, to some artwork you’ve recently completed. Seriously, they can be anything—character selfies, shots of combat, sharing your game UI, showing off all those pretty new scenery shots with the new graphics card you got… you get the idea.

IntPiPoMo was started back in 2011 by Angelya of Revive & Rejuventate. In 2013, Jojo of Admiring Azeroth picked up the initiative. In 2015, Jojo passed it along to me, as she was out of the country and unable to run it. I changed it up a bit when I took over, offering some prizes for those that completed the challenge, and I plan to do so again like years past. I’m hoping to continue to do the initiative justice, and I’m excited to see what kinds of screenshots and pictures folks are going to share!

How to Participate

  • Fill out this form to let me know you are participating! You can join at any time throughout the month of November!
  • Link back to this post so folks know where to go and what to do.
  • Aim to post fifty (50) images of your own creation/taking throughout the month of November.
    • There is no strict posting schedule or theme to adhere to, but feel free to bounce ideas off of fellow participants!
    • Feel free to post these images as a once-a-week batch, or throughout the week in small doses.
    • The images you post in regular blog posts count for this. You do not need to go out of your way to post picture-specific posts.
    • Remember, the photos/screenshots you include have to be yours!
  • Use the #IntPiPoMo hastag when you share your blog posts via social media.

Wait, Prizes?

First, your overall prize is the satisfaction that you completed the challenge! However, I am offering a few prizes (as has become the norm) this year.
  • Grand Prize – Of all participants who complete 50 images, I will be using a RNG (random.org) to draw a winner for a game up to $15 on Steam (game time for an MMO can be worked out if preferred)!
  • Three Other Prizes – Of all participants who complete 25+ images (up to and including those who make it to 50), I will be using a RNG (random.org) to draw three winners for a game up to $10 on Steam!
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Participant List

Updated 20 November 2019. Alphabetical by blog name.

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FAQ

Updated 31 October 2019

I’ve received some great questions during my time running this, and I’d like to provide them as a starting point. Don’t hesitate to reach out if your question isn’t answered here!

Q: Can I sign up during the event itself? I don’t know if I can/want to participate.
A: Of course! You could sign up the final day, though I don’t suggest it.

Q: I don’t want to put these on my main blog. Can I use my SFW Tumblr?
A: Yep! Tumblr is a form of blogging called micro-blogging. Some people also have micro-blogs on other platforms, too. All these micro-blogs are welcome as a part of the event!

Q: You mentioned photography being allowed, but what if I wanted to share some artwork throughout the month. Can I use it as a part of my submissions?
A: Yes! Whether it’s digital artwork, sculpting, knitting, etc., any form of creativity can tell just as much of a story as words can. Who am I to tell you that you can’t use these as well?

Q: I really don’t want to fill up my blog with photos. Can I participate and utilize photos as a part of my regular posts to count?
A: Indeed! Images don’t always convey everything you want to write, and sometimes you don’t want to make images the focus of a post. You are more than welcome to count images that you include as a part of a written post, so long as they are your own screenshots/photos.

Q: Can I create an animated GIF of images to get my point across?
A: So long as the images/screenshots are your own, feel free to create a GIF! However, at this point, it will only be counted as one image towards the total.

Q: Do I have to take all new shots? Or can I utilize shots I’ve already taken?
A: There is no need to take new shots, but I ask that you utilize shots that have not yet been posted in any other blog post, please!

Blaugust 2019 Postmortem

Blaugust 2019 Postmortem

Blaugust is over, which always brings me bittersweet feelings. August 2019 was a much better month for me than August 2018 was, which I am grateful for. As difficult as it became to write 31 posts, I somehow managed it. Though that’s thanks to finally checking off a to-do list item and moving all of my old articles from QueueTimes and MMO Games to my blog.

Last year’s insights after Blaugust concluded:

  • Blogging every day is a valiant goal, but is not something I can manage full-time.
  • On the days I journaled in my bujo (bullet journal), I was less likely to post a blog post.
  • I have good intentions of mini-events, but can have a difficult time implementing them.
  • When life gets overwhelming, my content creation endeavors take a nose-dive.

I don’t know that I learned much more about myself that is different than what I learned last year, so this year’s insights are similar.

  • Blogging every day is a valiant goal, but is not something I can manage full-time. Once again, I already knew this, but it’s nice to have a reminder that blogging/writing is not something I can commit to full-time, especially when I’m working what boils down to three jobs (actual full-time day job that pays the bills, NSFW job which is starting to help pay the bills, and streaming on Twitch). I am planning to try to go back to my goal of posting once a week (or more if inspiration strikes, but at least once a week).
  • On the days I blogged, I was less likely to journal in my bujo (bullet journal). Which I’m not trying to put a value statement on. I use journaling in my bujo as a way to prepare myself for difficult conversations, or work out my feelings, or discuss thoughts for/about therapy sessions. In a way, I feel that I somehow stunted my personal growth for the sake of hitting a thirty one day goal.
  • When life gets overwhelming, my content creation endeavors take a nose-dive. This more came out in my streaming endeavors this past month rather than my blogging (albeit only because of all the posts I copied over), but it still holds true. Day job stress makes it extremely difficult to complete things I actually want to do. (And triggers some intense negative feelings, but that’s why I’m working on coming up with some alternatives to the day job.)
  • I miss creating content that is more in-depth rather than more personalized. Copying over all of my longer form writings from working freelance has made me realize that I miss writing like that. While I enjoy having my blog as a more personalized endeavor, I also miss writing in a slightly more removed and analytical style (as many of the bloggers in Blaugust also seem to do, whether on occasion or consistently). Maybe I’ll look at doing a more in-depth or thought-out post once a month on top of my weekly personalized posts.
  • Numbers seem to be more of a distraction than a help. Throughout the month in the Blaugust Discord, some folks mentioned their blog follower counts, clicks, and views. While I understand that the numbers and the resulting milestones can be important to continuing blogging, I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, they do more harm than good. While I appreciate each and every person who spends time on my blog, clicks through, and follows, focusing on those numbers makes me compare myself to others more frequently. “Why am I not getting the same numbers?” is a common thought. And in the end, it really comes down to, (1) am I enjoying what I’m doing for myself, and (2) do I reach people who are invested. And if that happens to be only 3 people compared to someone else’s 30, in the end I suppose that’s good enough for me.

Okay, so maybe I learned a bit more than I initially thought I did. I loved seeing a bunch of new folks start blogging, and others pick up blogging again. I’m looking forward to continuing with catching up on blog posts, and getting to a point where I spend a little time every day reading everyone’s blogs (hopefully not every one of us is going to continue at a pace of a post a day or else I’ll never catch up!). I’m excited to have a backlog of post ideas, again. Though some of them might need to be posted sooner than later so I’m not referencing a six-month old post by another blogger by the time I get to my own post.

I also, like last year, want to give a huge shout out to Bel for all the time and energy he’s put into this endeavor. You are an amazing person who works wonders. Thank you for being you, and doing all that you do.

Lastly, I want to give a (somewhat shameless) plug to another blogging event in the hopes that folks stay blogging through then, and decide to participate. Since 2015, I’ve been running an event called IntPiPoMo. IntPiPoMo, or International Picture Posting Month is the image equivalent of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo focuses on writing 50,000 words over the course of the month of November. So, if a picture is a thousand words, that means that IntPiPoMo requires fifty pictures.

I’m looking forward to keeping up with everyone, and hopefully being a little bit more active in Discord over time. Thank you for all the fun ideas, all! Keep up the writing and the fun!

September ’19 Gaming Goals

September ’19 Gaming Goals

This post is (31/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

August Recap

Setting up goals as a more focused month-based list rather than, “here’s what I wanna do soon!” has definintely made a difference in how I use my playtime, or how I decide not to game at all. And I think it helped a lot with the way work has been, and looks to be continuing for the remainder of 2019.

  • Complete Vvardenfell Master Angler (ESO) – I had intentions to finish this, but then dinged 50 and got caught up in quests and CP.
  • Ding 42 on Warden (ESO) – I surpassed this! I hit 50! Once I hit 40, I got into the “OMG I’M SO CLOSE MUST DING” mindset, which helped.
  • Hit Revered with The Unshackled (WoW) – About freaking time. UGH. I hate Nazjatar with a passion.
  • Hit Revered with Rustbolt Resistance (WoW) – I’m super close. I should hopefully have it in another day (possibly two if things don’t go my way after daily reset).
  • Ding level 30 on Conjurer (FFXIV) – I didn’t even think I’d hit 30, but I ended up dinging 35!
  • Start re-watching MSQ cutscenes (FFXIV) – I didn’t do any of this, because I mainly logged in for roulettes. I figure once I hit 50, I’ll re-watch them to continue where I’d left off before quitting.
  • Finish a play though of Detroit: Become Human (PS4) – I honestly didn’t touch my PS4 at all for the month, except to watch Detective Pikachu.

September Goals

  • Hit CP 150 on Warden (ESO)
  • Ding level 50 on Conjurer (FFXIV)
  • Finish Auridon (ESO)
  • Finish Grahtwood (ESO)
  • Finish City of the Sun God (SWL)
  • Finish side missions in Blue Mountains (SWL)
  • Finish next route in Sweet Fuse (Otome)
  • Figure out a game for #SportSeptember and play it (Community Game-Along)
Long Term FFXIV Goals, Updated

Long Term FFXIV Goals, Updated

This post is (30/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

I originally put together a list in 2015 of what I wanted to pursue in FFXIV, but the game has changed so much (no more cross-classing, new jobs) that I wanted to do an update to streamline the list for what I hope to get done in the next six months. That, and plan out what I wanted to do as I dive back into the game since life circumstances have changed a bunch since last playing, too.

I’ve decided to change from maining a Warrior to maining White Mage (though I’m still a Conjurer), especially for the instant queues, but I plan to switch between White Mage and Dancer when I’m able to pick it up. I’m thinking I can do questing as a Dancer, and queues as White Mage.

I’m not sure I’ll get to everything on the list in six months, but it doesn’t hurt to set up an idea of a progression path.

I’m a determined Roe!

Disciples of War/Magic

  • White Mage 60
  • Pick up Dancer
  • White Mage 80 (simultaneously with Dancer)
  • Dancer 80 (simultaneously with White Mage)
  • Paladin 50
  • Bard 50
  • Dark Knight 50
  • Scholar 50
  • Summoner 50

Disciples of Land/Hand

  • Fisher 80
  • Botanist 80
  • Miner 80
  • Culinarian 50
  • Alchemist 25
  • Weaver 25
  • Leatherworker 25
  • Goldsmith 25
  • Armorer 25
  • Blacksmith 25
  • Carpenter 25