Another year has ended and provides an opportunity to reflect. At the beginning of the year there was a family ski trip to Meribel, through the spring and into the summer I ran three half marathons in three and a bit months. I started writing for darkworldgaming.com which has been a great experience.
Skiing is always good fun, this time we visited Meribel, in the French Alps in February. It’s somewhere I’ve not been before, so it’s always good to visit somewhere new.
The half marathons were hard work, three different weather conditions, made them all challenging in different ways. Warwick half was just after the beast from the east so was cold and windy.
Stratford-on-Avon half was fairly warm comparatively and made it harder to breathe.
Leamington Spa Half was almost slap bang in the middle of one of the warmest summers that I can remember even at nine o’clock in the morning it was warm and it only got warmer.
Writing for Darkworld has been good fun and challenging in equal measure. Making sure that I write coherently enough to get my opinion on a game across in a way that communicates accurately what I think or feel about a game isn’t very easy to begin with, but I feel like I’ve leaned how to do it as I’ve gone along.
So pretty much a year on from my last World Mental Health Day post I figured it was a good time to provide an update on where I’m at with my mental health issues.
I had to back through some of my old posts to figure out what had changed, if anything. I would say on the whole, there have been some changes, more for the good I guess.
The main change is that I am receiving treatment for my depression, in the form of antidepressants, which I’m on the highest dose of this particular drug. I’m also going to counselling every couple of weeks. I think for me the two side by side have worked well for me, so it will be good to see where I go from here.
In terms of my overall outlook, it’s getting better, I still have bad days to struggle through every so often, but they’re more manageable now, so that’s progress I guess. I’ve done things that I’m proud of since this time last year that have helped, I ran three half marathons in three and a bit months (my body still hasn’t forgiven for that), I’ve started learning the guitar, unfortunately I’m still a way off being a mega rock star.
So things are going OK I guess and we shall see what happens.
So, I’ve decided that I’m going to write a book, I think it will be an interesting journey and a way to keep me busy and as a potential income stream in the future.
It’s still early doors yet but I’ve been brainstorming a few ideas around for a few weeks now to the point where I have the basic skeleton of a plot and have started writing the first chapter. I won’t be giving away too much now at the moment, just that it is a medieval fantasy. I believe it will be a good story and I am excited to share it once it is finished, hopefully, people will feel the same.
I’ve always been tempted by the idea of writing a book and attempted it a few years ago, but lost my work when my hard drive on my computer at the time got corrupted. This time I think I’ve learned to always have multiple saves.
I suppose I ought to list my inspirations so that people get an idea of what the book might be like as it takes shape. I’ve always had a love of fantasy and science fiction, so it makes sense to me that I would be drawn to one of these if I were to choose to write a novel. In terms of fantasy writers and their works, I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, not just lord of the rings but the extended universe as well, it may seem wordy and like wading through verbal treacle at times, but there is such a broad universe to get absorbed into that avid readers can dip in and out of to get a sense of the details within middle earth.
Another favourite of mine growing up was the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, I felt it was an intriguing take on a world with magic users and the role within that world to protect it. I also liked the trilogies take on the mechanics of how magic is constructed, how magic is a series “letters” and symbols that have to be drawn to be used. Having a female protagonist was also quite refreshing as there just aren’t enough in fantasy fiction.
Thirdly Harry Potter has been a big influence on the sort of material I read and enjoy, the first book was released when I was seven years old, a time where I was getting to grips with reading independently. I was absorbed by this series of books as were many people around the world, it became so popular in our household that we had three copies from the third book onwards, we had them on tape and CD, for long family car journeys. it’s a series of books that will be precious to me for a long time to come.
During this process, I was hoping to be able to support myself and to be able to pay for publishing services from an editor or a publishing house, but it varies from £300 to £800, which I couldn’t hope to afford right now. In order to try and raise some funds I have set up a Patreon which is linked here:
Patreon is a service for creators to help with funding, it allows people to subscribe a certain amount per month to help support their favourite creators, if you wish to support me through this way there will be rewards for doing so, for example, an early preview of chapters or the book as a whole, there will be other rewards available as soon as I manage to arrange them.
There is also a tipping service called Buy Me a Coffee if you don’t want to pay a monthly amount but instead give a one-off tip, it would be equally appreciated, the link for that is as follows:
This question was posed to me by my brother over the last festive period and although I did answer it at the time as best I could, I’ve been thinking on it further in order to try and give a more articulate answer. But because I’m terrible at setting myself structured deadlines on my personal blog, I’ve been sitting on this/adding to it whenever I remember that this post is in my drafts. Metal is probaly my favourite genre of music but it isn’t the only genre I listen to, I’d say my music taste is fairly eccentric, but maybe that’s another post.
I find Metal music helps relax me weirdly, certain songs and albums have a certain rhythm and pace to them that helps me zone out, I find that the rhythm and pace sometimes get my imagination going as well. I also find it focuses me, helps me concentrate on days where I might need to get things done, it drives out distractions. It’s cathartic to listen to, through the noise it can convey a lot of things. From stories and emotions to fantasies and a few others. Sometimes it acts as a release for when I’m fed up or angry with something.
I find it helps my running as well, stick on something loud and fast and I find myself almost subconsciously driven by it. Like a war drum that signals at what pace things should be happening and communicate a sense of urgency to proceedings. having a pace setter also helps with running, so having something fast paced helps, plus it stops my brain from thinking too hard on why I’m running in the first place.
People who don’t listen to metal struggle to see past the noise, but as with any form of music, if you give a chance you’ll discover the subtleties to it. Metal can convey an awful lot of things if you listen hard enough, it isn’t just loud noise. It can tell a story, taking you on an adventure. Albums can be like a book where the individual songs are the chapters of the story.
The last few years have been a bit of a renaissance of my love of metal music, I’ve discovered so many great groups and artists and an awful lot of great female fronted metal bands, showing that women kick ass as much as the men.
Essentially there are a load of awesome bands out there making absolutely mega music and I wanted to showcase some of it and now I’m learning to play guitar I get to be jealous of these guys while working towards being even remotely on the same level as them.
As I’m sure many people are aware this week is mental health awareness week, also if you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with depression over the last couple of years. It has been quite severe at times, to the point where I admitted on this blog that I was suicidal. I thought this would be a good reason to try and get up a few posts this week, to share some experiences and as an update on my journey through recovery.
A large part of the reason why I have posted about my own mental health on previous occasions is I hope I can provide a starting point for a conversation about mental illness in order to help break the stigma that is attached to the subject. I feel once we as a society overcome this hurdle, we will be a big step towards making it an easier burden to bear for those who are suffering.
Depression an all-consuming, oppressive illness that poisons everything in a persons’ life, it can be all they ever think about, it swallows them whole. I have found that there is little warning for when a depressive episode might occur, even if I might be in a “good period” I know it will never last. Medication really only works in conjunction with other things, in order to get the most out of it, in my personal experience, it needs to be paired with other treatments like CBT or other forms of counselling and therapy. I have found having a neutral person to talk to be very helpful.
Every person will experience mental illness differently, some people will regress and others won’t. Either way please be pantient with those that are experiencing any sort of mental illness, recovery is not a straight line from A to B. As with most things in life, things don’t go to plan due to any number of factors, mental illness is expecially complicated, because it is your brain that is sick.
Depression will always be with me I reckon, I see myself as permanently damaged goods and I’ve kind of come to accept that I will probably feel this to a certain extent for the rest of my life. Does it suck? absolutely, will it get easier to bear? I hope so.
It can often be hard to describe to depression to those that have never suffered it, I hear people often describe it as a black dog and after thinking on that bit in the last week or so, I find myself think that a dog isn’t the best way to describe it. To me describing depression as a dog suggests that on some level it has a friendly or loving side and it’s something that a person can learn to live despite its quirks and unusual behaviours. Depression is more of cunning, evil and predatory “animal” if that’s the theme that we’re going with.
Depression uses your own mind, thoughts and voice against you as it twists and bends them to its own will, it prey’s on any weakness it can sense and uses your own inner monologue to convince you that you don’t deserve to live or be loved or to have friends. It uses your own voice to convince you that the world would be better off without you and that you should do yourself harm. It can clutch in fear of doing the simplest things, it sucks you dry of motivation and impedes your concentration.
Depression can make things you used to love doing into hateful chores and make essential tasks painfully unimportant. Jobs and chores become smothering and oppressive you avoid them because you know there’s no point to tackling them in the long run. You begin to lose sight in doing any different from what you currently do, so depression brings you with it down the dark downward spiralling path into its shadowy den and it keeps you on a short leash to break your will and to keep you as a slave to keep it fed.
The black dog image, to me, gives the sense of something you can grapple or wrestle with, something that can be taken on and can be taken on alone, depression isn’t that though, hence why I’m wary to depict it as an animal, an animal gives it a physical form that can be fought or taken on. Depression is like more like a cloud or a mist something that’s clearly there but hard to get to grips with. Depression is vague and ever-changing dense and smothering but something you carry everywhere you go.
Depression is like fighting through deep water whilst walking on shifting ground, trying to reach a target that is constantly on the move. When it’s bad it’s almost sickening, it all you can think about, the only choices are either to try to keep going or to give up.
That’s not to say it’s all bad, some days are good and there are more of them coming.