Hit a wall with Jason Blood and friends, so I damned well wrote something else. Fuck YOU, writer’s block.
Is there in truth no beauty?
May 11, 2013
Disclaimers: Pretty much nothing here is mine. I am *fully* aware of this fact.
Spoilers/Timeline: Vague, AU-ized mentions for older storylines. There’s some Red Hood canon in here, but not all that much. Takes place… hmm… somewhat outside this timeline, so I’ll just say that Tim is seventeen and Jason is nineteen.
Summary: “Help — please.”
Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which dovetails neatly with the content some readers may find to be SEX POLLEN.
Author’s Note: I was talking with SV about the dwindling amounts of sex pollen being posted in fandom, and my heart was wounded. WOUNDED, I say. I blithered about my love for the cliché at length — as I am wont to do — and mentioned that I’d been trying to figure out a decent Pollinated!Jay bunny since 2005 or so… and then this bunny hit.
Acknowledgments: Much love to Pixie, Mildred, Melissa, Nonie, Greyandgold, Spice, and my Jack, who provided audiencing, encouragement, loud noises, and, as always, many helpful suggestions. All must hail.
Length: 28,000 words.
As for other concerns… *sigh* Life is nuts over here. Fucking, fucking nuts. Thank you all for writing. I will try to post more of an update… soon.
So it’s been kind of a stressful week at casa del Jack and Te, but we were coping all right, as these things go. As it happened, there was no aide available on Wednesday evening — and no way we could cook for ourselves — due to certain realities of disability. Additionally, my digestive system had gone haywire — as it does on a semi-regular basis, unfortunately — and I needed some cheese to balance things out. No cheese in the house.
No problem, right? We’ll order in a pizza and some cheese bread. We picked a local restaurant with good food and what had always been good service — I won’t be naming them/linking to them in this post, just in *case* the problem was just with the delivery person — and called in our order.
They arrived promptly — they always do — and Jack went downstairs with hir walker to let the driver in, as I didn’t dare venture too far from the bathroom. Ze quickly discovered that, unlike with my walker and/or smaller-sized pizza boxes, this pizza wouldn’t fit on hir walker. Ze asked the — young, male, apparently able-bodied — delivery person to bring the pizza upstairs to the door of the apartment.
The protests began immediately.
1) This trip is approximately 2-4 minutes long at the *busiest* times of day, which this wasn’t.
2) This trip does *not* involve one. Single. Stair.
3) This trip always — always — involves an extra tip. (Not infrequently, we have large orders that won’t fit on *either* walker.)
First, he said that he’d left his car running, and that there were other people’s orders waiting. Jack looked, and, sure enough, there his vehicle was — in the space immediately in front of our building, which is clearly marked Emergency Vehicles Only. So, ze said that that was no problem, and he could move his car across the street. Ze pointed out that there were plenty of spaces, and that parking was free in that lot at that time of night.
Then he said, “They told me not to go upstairs.”
I’m *trying* to focus on the story more than anything else, which is tricky with my sleep schedule going even wonkier than usual. Which is just to say that I might be around or I might not — but I probably won’t have much time to read. If there’s something you want me to see, poke me.
Things about the current WIP/Oceans of Time: Yes, I’m going to try to get in information about what happens with everyone after “Seduction of the Timocent”/”The sword among his pinions”. Yes, it’s going to be drawer-fic, because of spoilery spoilery reasons. And yes, Lex is playing a role. How big a role is something I’m not sure of yet, but — he’s right there.
And so are various other characters. :D
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in different ways. I did therapy. I did prozac. I did more therapy. My baseline is melancholic. I’d just made peace with it when I moved, unintentionally, to a place that had markedly less sunshine in the winter. I got seasonal depression. I got that under control. Then I got really, really sick. Turns out it’s a permanent, painful genetic disorder. My last pain-free day was four years ago.
So, this Cult of Happy article just set me off. Just… anger. Rage. Depression is serious – debilitating, often dangerous, and it’s got an enormous stigma. It leaves people to fend for themselves.
It’s bad enough without people ramming Happy Tips at you through facebook. There is no miracle behaviour change that will flip that switch for you. I know, I’ve tried.
A friend of mine suggested that I write something from my point of view because, surprisingly, I manage to give an outwards impression of having my shit together. I was shocked to hear this. And I find this comical, but I see her point. I’m functioning. I’ve adapted. I’m surprisingly okay. I think the medical term is “resilient”.
So, here it is.
My 21 Tips on Keeping Your Shit Together During Depression
1) Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying. There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.
2) Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)
3) Enlist the help of a professional. See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
4) Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
5) Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that. Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
6) Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.
7) While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.
8) If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil. Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….
9) Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.
10) Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.
11) Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
13) Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.
14) Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.
15) Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process - but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.
16) Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.
17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only. Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.
18) Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.
19) Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”. Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
20) If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.
21) Forgive yourself. I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.
This list will not cure you. This list will not flip on the happy switch. God, I wish it were that easy. The theme here is to not to unknowingly sabotage yourself. All these little things? Like your blood sugar, or watching nonstop episodes of House, or endless Try Harder lectures from your Perpetually Perky sister?
They all make dealing with depression just a tiny bit harder than it needs to be. And it’s hard enough, all on its own.
UPDATE: Wow, guys. Thank you. The feedback has been wonderful - all I wanted to set out to do was something helpful.
For those of you who want to see the original rant, Here it is.. www.diycouturier.com/post/41923259437/to-the-person-who-wrote-21-habits-…
And here’s the response to my response (?) - basically, after posting my retort, the happy people came at me with torches all over the interwebs.
Also, a few people have mentioned that having a critter is a great thing to keep you on track, that taking care of something and having something rely on you keeps you going. I went back and forth on including that, but for some, it’s just not feasible to have a cat or a dog… but my cat is my Prozac.
And, I wrote this in Canada, where we have universal health care. It breaks my heart that people don’t have access to professional support. You can sometimes find a community health centre, or sometimes your work benefits will have an employee support or assistance plan as part of your insurance. If you’re without benefits and hitting desperation, phone someone. Friend, family - even your local distress centre.
Stay well, my melancholic interweb friends…xoRR
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Reblogged for later
What you need to know:
1. The Jason in this snippet is — *points up* — Jason Blood.
2. I am so over writing stories with unhappy endings. So. Over. It.
3. This is kind of a jump-to-the-faaaaar-left sequel to Seduction of the Timocent which starts some 32 years after the end of things.
4. The working title is Oceans of Time. We’ll see if I’m shameless enough to actually use it.