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It lives!

Okay…I know I’ve been really silent. I apologize for that. Wish I could say I had a good reason, but it boils down to a brain on overload.

TMI-time, but this blog began as a chronicle of life as a writer, and this overload has been a major problem for years. Menopause was a bitch for me, creatively. Between obsessive death-thoughts, circular thinking, the inability to prioritize, and the problems I was having with DAW, my writing was hosed. Zoloft solved the death-thoughts and got my writing on track for a while, but had side effects that got me looking for another answer. That’s when our friend Terry got us onto the whole thyroid thing. Bringing my TSH levels down got me off the Zoloft, for which I was very grateful. Solved the obsessive death thoughts without the other side effects.

Unfortunately, the circular, brain on overload has returned. Between the house and all its associated needs, Closed Circle and all its needs, and the increasing desire to lighten our load of collected stuff to what we really want to have around us, I’ve become increasingly overwhelmed. The lack of ability to prioritize has been killing me. My brain kept looking for a single focus that didn’t associate with the pressure of “getting it right, or else your life will be ruined.” i.e. play. One notes the obsession with Wiishu and now the obsession with GuildWars2. Both of these are wonderful in their own right and I have no desire to give them up, but…they are play. Escape.

Now don’t get me wrong: this is not all I’ve done for the last year, but it’s what has been fun and what I wanted to share. I’ve fought daily to get HomeComing Games finished. I’ve used every trick in the writer’s box of magic tricks.  But I couldn’t focus. You have no idea on a story this complex with this much history and baggage and pressure to “get it right” just how devastating that has been. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I need to get done. Wiishu kept me from disappearing from the world altogether. And then Wiishu became more popular and getting his stories out became yet another pressure…and I turned to GW2.

The good news is, I think I’ve found a solution. Thanks to a couple of creative friends who had similar problems, I got on to Wellbutrin. My doc agreed to give me a trial dose…and I’m here to tell all those people who say these drugs take weeks to manifest…they’re basing those results on people whose minds I don’t even want to contemplate. And don’t tell me placebo! CJC said within hours of my first dose how different I was. More like my old, cheerful self. Taking things in stride (and I was working on taxes!) rather than going ballistic. This is not me controlling myself, this is hair trigger nerves getting de-triggered. I wasn’t panicking. I wasn’t getting defensive. Once these overwhelming chemical reactions were gone…I just solved the problem…the way I used to.

Even this post…I’ve written it in, what, fifteen minutes? In the last couple of years, it would have taken me all day, because my brain would have gone of on a dozen different tangents by now, reliving the historical problems, thinking about the Wiishu stories waiting to be processed, about the book and the scene I’m working on, about the have-dug up shrub outside my window… rather than just getting the job done. I leave it to your imaginations what is been like trying to write HG. I consider it a minor miracle that I still LIKE what I’ve managed to squeeze out this last year.

I hope, god how I hope, it continues to work…and that there are no negative side effects.

Keep your fingers cross for me!

Love to you all and thanks for bearing with me!

8 comments to It lives!

  • Glad to read you’re feeling better! Fingers and toes crossed that it continues to work for you!

    Big cheers about HG progress! Those boys are being bad to you.

    I’ve been where you were, to the point my rheumatologist was ready to send me to a loony house (with her going with me she said) since I was driving her batty. She saw what was going on was PTSD and got me under control with just 1mg of Clonapin. While I fought the neurologist, the 20mg of Cymbalta I finally agreed to take did help settle down the neuropathy head spikes and shooting electrical pains occurring from the waist down.

    Having unexplained neurological spikes painfully popping up wherever would drive anyone bats after a few months.

  • Dear Jane, I hope this or other solutions continue to work for you. I think play in some form is an essential outlet.

    It is (maybe) plain from the frustrations I’ve voiced before that I have been struggling with things for a long while now. My round robin or scatter gun approach to writing still puzzles me, for instance. It seems very like ADHD, but as far as I know, that’s not otherwise an issue for me. I haven’t been working on font designs, which I should. Other things in life have been just…I make a little progress on some, others stay at a standstill. My budget’s a pain. My social life, network of local friendships? Hah. — And yet I keep on, and I’d like to think I’ve made a little progress, but I don’t know. I just really wish things would improve. I know there’s some depression involved, but when I did see a therapist a few years ago, he didn’t feel medication was necessary. If there’s some other problem, I don’t know. I do think I know the stuff running around in my head, though.

    Anyway — Jane, please keep on trying. Keep writing, keep on with other things you enjoy, and take a break when needed. I get the feeling you have tremendous enthusiasm for things, and you take on projects, have wonderful ideas, and you get yourself overloaded with expectations of yourself, and then wonder why you can’t reach those expectations. (Er, I have, a few times, noticed a few similarities in our personalities.) You are clearly a super person, really sweet, and creative.

    I enjoy hearing and seeing Wiishu and the gang’s adventures. Obsession? Aw, I don’t think I’d call it that. Plenty of other people are a lot more into the things they’re into, besides, whether it’s BJD dolls or some other interests. Wiishu and his buddies are good, a positive force, a fun thing to do, imagining stories for them. They’re charming, wonderful, and a different outlet than your more real-world fictional realms. Maybe they’re helping bring some balance to that. So OK, if you feel you need to reshuffle how you do things, how much time you give to one thing and another, that’s cool. Everybody needs to reorganize sometimes. But I’d vote for continuing with the guys. They’re cool; they’re nice.

    GuildWars 2 — Heh, that’s good, clean fun with friends or on your own. Lots of people love gaming. One of the podcasts I listen to, Star Trek: Excelsior, started in part from gaming, was spun off from the game group, and the podcast was started by a guy who was then in high school or college. He’s now out there in the real world, working. — And the chance to go have some fun adventuring in a game? Well, why the heck not? Enthusiasm? You’re interested, it’s something you like, the enthusiasm’s a good thing. It looks like a lot of fun. — And after a day of managing real life junk and your writing, which is both work and enjoyment, dang it, lady, you deserve a little time to unwind with whatever you like. Getting to do so with friends too? Sounds good to me.

    I was surprised, when I started trying to write more seriously, fiction writing, that I had this guilty attitude somewhere inside. “Oh, but er, this isn’t ‘really’ work, I must be just goofing off. I’m not getting paid for it, it’s not earning me money. I’m not getting stuff finished and posted or put into ebooks or… what the heck am I doing, am I just playing and spinning my wheels?”

    And yet, it’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to do. Long ago, I started as an English major. I’d thought, hey, I’d become a tech writer and maybe translator to support myself and that’d let me write science fiction and fantasy because I wanted to be a writer. Hah, my work life went in a slightly different direction but not too far off from that. My personal life involved thinking up fiction in the back of my head that sometimes got written down and sometimes didn’t. Then I (finally) reached the point where I wanted to, had to, write to satisfy that itch, and here I am.

    Also, I knew I wanted writing and arts-related things as my career, professional and personal. So what was I doing with the attitude that this wasn’t “really” working, it was just playing? My mother was a professional artist, mostly oils. I’m sure it was what she loved most and was best at. Her years running the art and frame shop and painting were her happiest, I think. She told her art students (adults and occasionally younger), and told me, that sure, if you want a career in the arts, get a solid grounding in business skills too, do something to support yourself, to pay the bills, and keep doing your art and pursue it as your career too, until it can support you. Even at their most “practical, work ethic,” my mom and dad both advised that someone should do what they most love to do, as their career, because it was their best chance to succeed and enjoy themselves.

    So my attitude that writing or font design “wasn’t really working” was just…nagging self-doubts, I guess. Because it didn’t fit with how I was raised, how I went to school, or what I’d done in professional life. (Typesetting, graphics, proofing, editing, what was then called “desktop publishing,” the early use of computers for publication and graphic design.) After all, that was work too, and it had paid. Niche market, the pay wasn’t great, but it was a living. I was pretty good at it.

    So — I don’t really know what advice to give you except, Jane, you’re a good egg, you do a good job, you should have a good time too.

    :: hugs ::

  • ready4more

    Jane, I hope the combination of medication works for you. This last year has been the toughest for me in terms of mental focus. I thought that retirement from my very stressful job would allow me to focus on the unhappiness issues. Then the right knee and its replacement derailed the “wonderful” things I was going to get accomplished in my private life. Now i’m mostly recovered from the knee and the nerve damage caused by a poorly place tourniquet during surgery, and off most of my meds and I still am suffering through bouts of depression followed by days of productive work (taxes). I finally got up the gumption to fight with the various health insurance issues and change plans, then waded through difficulties getting the primary care physician I wanted after two months of being told no I couldn’t keep whom I wanted. I finally got to keep my doctor, and visited him. He thinks I have thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency. Blood work (fasting) to be done on Monday. I’m happy I’m back with a doctor that is willing to work with me, and is suggesting possibilities based on WHAT I’M SAYING.

  • WOL

    I hear you. I’ve had a bad flare myself. Spent the whole week in bed reading book after book (including Peacemaker!!!!!) when I need to be culling and packing and getting my taxes done and taking pictures of furniture I plan to sell, and having garage sales . . . We must have some planets in common or something. I’m trying to get on a new drug — I need it now, but getting the stupid VA to do anything is like pulling teeth. You have to call and call and call and call and, “OH, we have to see you first,” and maybe they can fit you in two or three weeks from now. . . . if you’re lucky. At least you can afford to go to a real doctor.

  • chondrite

    As ever, do what is required to get yourself on an even keel; we shall wait. An ill Jane writes few, if any, books!

  • Hanneke

    I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better, I hope the stuff keeps working without side-effects. Isn’t it a relief, to start feeling like yourself again?
    I’m just starting to get on a bit more even keel myself, now the hormonal upsets of the menopause seem to be subsiding; not quite there yet but with weeks of more energy interspersed with the withdrawals.
    I’ve always been a bit lazy, and likely to cry instead of get mad, but since the menopause started (7 years ago now, those first symptoms were quite early) I have rarely been able to sleep a night through, and waking up tired every morning has made those tendencies so very much stronger. I always used to be fairly cheerful and even-tempered, and losing that resilience was quite upsetting. I’m so glad to be getting that back, I finally feel as if I’m starting to recognise myself again. I really hope it works that way for you too, but a bit faster!
    The strongest issue remaining, apart from the not-sleeping, is that in the last years I’ve become dreadfully obstinate about *not* doing whatever I *have* to do, even if I placed it on that list myself. I tend to make lists for myself, as a way to cope with my tendency to procrastinate: I’d list 6-8 things it would be nice to get done on the weekend, and aim to do half (that let me feel I was skiving off some, while still being content with the things I got done). Nowadays, putting things on that list seems to more or less guarantee that I won’t do them! Unless it’s stuff that I’m really obliged to do, mostly for others, as I wouldn’t want Pippin to suffer a dirty litterbox because of my obstreperousness. But the ironing has been piling up for two months, and the filing for even longer…
    That tendency to retreat away from any pressure is still very strong, and seems similar to what you describe.
    I decided to stop pressuring myself, and see if that helps. But telling myself I don’t have to do the ironing, when there’s a pile nearly a yard high just sitting there, doesn’t really work – the feeling that I should do something about that remains – which just triggers the running away and doing something else (mostly reading) reflex. I haven’t found a solution for that yet.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, hoping the Wellbutrin solves the problems for you!

  • witchyg

    Jane, Wellbutrin was a godsend for me…hope it continues to work for you. Ready…i chuckled when i read the possible vitamin d deficiency. when mine was originally checked, it was a 4 and even after years of taking additional d, my dr just upped it again. at least this time i was up to 28, lol. didn’t realize that could also trigger depression. hope everyone finds what they need to get on a permanent road to recovery! 🙂

    • So far, I’m sooooo thankful for it! wish I’d known about it back when I went on Zoloft. I think it would have changed, well, a lot of things. It’s a much better fit so far with my particular mental needs. Vitamin balances are tricksey, for sure!

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