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Inktober Days 8,9,10: Crooked, Screech, Gigantic

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Playing catch-up again, here’s the last three days of prompts crammed into one drawing. Still not great at coloring.

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Inktober 2017

Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

Since I have this blog just kinda languishing here I figured I might as well post some random bits. With October freshly begun I’ve decided to give Inktober a shot this year.

Basically, like it says above, one ink drawing every day during the month of October. Then you post it to social media and add the #Inktober #Inktober2017 tags.

You can visit Inktober.com for the “Official” daily prompt list or forge your own path. Since I’m a newbie I figured I’d stick to the prompts and see where it takes me.

Even though I’m not really an artist I figured that drawing everyday for a month will only make me better.

Today’s prompt is “Swift” so here’s me taking the house wolf for a walk, or maybe she’s just dragging me.

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Happy Inktober everyone.

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Dear BioWare, About Mass Effect Andromeda

In which I pen an heartfelt letter to my old flame about rekindling our love affair.

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(Originally posted on HeyPoorPlayer.com)

Hey guys, it’s been awhile. What can I say, the ending was rough. We both said things we didn’t mean, but don’t for a second think that means I ever stopped loving you.

I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about Mass Effect Andromeda and I felt like I needed to let you know that I’m glad you’re moving on. It’s been a bumpy road and we’ve lost some people along the way, but maybe this could be the fresh start we both needed? Here’s the thing though, for this to work there’s a few things I’m gonna need you to keep in mind.

Click here to read the rest

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Mental Health is About the Journey, Not the Destination

With the recent proclamation that May would be Mental Health Awareness Month I was pleased to see my peeps getting some representation. Even if, at the time I wasn’t feeling any particular solidarity with them.

See here’s the thing, I’m crazy. Okay, technically I’m not supposed to say that. The reason escapes me at the moment, but something about stigma? Generalization? Whatever, it gets across the basic idea that on some level my mind is wired wrong.

I have a therapist, and take lots of medicine. It took a long time for me to seek help and even longer before I saw real progress. I have what they call fast-cycling massive depression. For awhile one doctor even thought I might be bi-polar, which was exciting and terrifying. Being bi-polar is like the diabetes of mental health, manageable, but not really curable.

When I switched doctors and realized that I never had anything resembling mania the focus shifted to my anxiety and the depression. Kind of a self-fulfilling circle there. I was anxious about slipping back into depression, which could last weeks, which made me more likely to become depressed because of how worried I was about it.

Really quick, being depressed is not the same as being sad, not even a little. I tried going to a counselor and she suggested a ‘gratitude journal’ so I could reflect on all the great things I have going for me. This was probably the least helpful thing any ‘professional’ has ever suggested to me. I already knew I shouldn’t be depressed, that I have no outside persistent influence that kept me from enjoying life. That’s what makes the depression so hard to deal with. Not only do I feel terrible, I don’t think I deserve to feel bad because I have it so good.

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Image by Mary Lock on Flickr under Creative Commons

If you take nothing else from this blog, take this, depression isn’t the same as being sad. When you feel sad, usually there is a reason and once you deal with that reason you can feel better. Depression offers no relief. It is constant and overwhelming, like drowning while everyone else seems to have no trouble swimming. “Why can’t you just kick your damn legs?” “Do you want to drown?” “You fail at everything anyway so don’t even bother trying to swim.” That’s depression.

Things have changed a lot for me over the past year. I like to think I’ve gotten better. Hell, some days I feel like I’m cured and over it all. So, yeah when I heard it was Mental Health Awareness Month, initially I didn’t feel the need to say anything. Not my place, I wasn’t feeling ‘crazy’ anymore. Until, I was.

This is where it gets hard and murky. Usually I’m fine. I follow my treatment plan, have a super supportive family, and practice cognitive mood techniques, even though I often think they are stupid. Even so, sometimes I feel the depression pulling me back in.

Recognizing it isn’t the same as fighting it. Being able to see when I’m becoming withdrawn and miserable doesn’t always mean I’m able to combat it, because usually by the time I realize I’m depressed again, it’s already too late. It can be set off by anything, or occasionally nothing. One minute I’m me and the next I can barely find the motivation to drag myself to my pillow fort in retreat.

What I’m trying to say is that mental health is hard and for a lot of people it will always be hard. There is no cure, no definitive diagnosis. You can spend years thinking you are chipping away at the problem only to discover that the cause may have been something else entirely. There’s no simple blood test for crazy. No magic pill.

I’m learning to forgive myself for my bad days. Trying to show myself that one bad day doesn’t mean I’ve fallen all the way back to the start. Sometimes it will be a struggle, and sometimes it will feel like too much. That’s okay. I have to tell myself that this is okay.

If you or someone you care about suffers from an invisible mental health issue, let them know that it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to not always feel ‘normal’ or sane. You have to just keep going because, eventually, there will be a good day again.

Need help? United States:
1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Path Finding for Grown-ups

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With great power…

Here we are, one month into my new and exciting life as a freelance writer. It’s still amazing, and most days I still feel like I don’t deserve this kind of opportunity. It’s not that I don’t have any confidence in my writing, hell, if anything putting myself out there more has increased my confidence. It’s really just that as I put more work out into the interwebs I start to wonder about the type of work I’m making. This opens up all sorts of scary self-critical thoughts.

See, right now I have maybe three steady gigs. None of which pay much on their own, but between the three of them I make just enough to cover my health insurance so that me working from home isn’t a financial burden on my family. I get to pick my own topics, mostly, which is great, but there is more potential in writing a certain way.

One of the places I write for pays based on shared ad revenue. For those uninitiated that means that the more people click on and read your piece the more you take home at the end of the month. Here’s my conflict, do I write stuffy, but impartial journalism, or do I go overboard on editorializing to drag in readers?

At first I scoffed at the idea of using potentially libelous headlines, but as the editors modified mine and I got more hits as a result I saw the value. Honestly, it makes me uncomfortable and I try to pick topics that won’t generate as much anger from the comments, so the ones that don’t do as well.

This got me to thinking, I’ve spent all this time wanting to be a writer, but now I finally have to figure out what sort of writer I want to be. It’s tempting to take the moral high-ground, but even though the husband keeps us fed and sheltered I don’t want to leave him solely responsible for our income indefinitely. I want to be successful, but I’m not sure what I think that looks like just yet.

One of the nice things about working for yourself is that you can restructure your job on the fly. Every week so far I’ve tried a slightly different approach to my craft. Shifted my focus from one outlet to another to see how much of a difference it would make to my overall take-home. Now, I’m feeling unsatisfied with fighting over ad clicks to make a buck when I could be doing more to hone my craft.

Ultimately, I need to figure out what my overall goal with this job. Do I want to be a jack-of-all-trades freelance blogger who’s work is scattered into the digital wind. Writing bits and pieces here and there just to make budget each month? Maybe I should just go off the deep end and embrace the new wave of salacious reporting that drives ad numbers. Do I want to make my mark as an author? Write actual books and have some sort of legacy?

Truth be told none of these options would be wrong. I might harp on the current mainstream media for deviating from what I was taught journalism was, but they are a product of their audience and I can hardly fault them for that.

Maybe my answer lays someone in the middle. I guess I don’t really know yet, but for now I’m planning to just take it one week at a time. Each morning I’ll refocus my efforts on the direction I’m trying out and most importantly, I’ll keep writing.

 

Image used under Creative Commons