I tried to do this before a few years ago, and it ended badly. When we increased my Lamictal a little too quickly early on, I was struck by shooting back pain as a side effect--I mean that I had to crawl up the stairs for a couple of days, it was so bad. One of the known side effects of Zoloft, both taking it and coming off it, is suicidal thoughts. Which is some useless-ass bullshit for an antidepressant, but there you are. It's also why I'm not sure I'll ever be able to totally get off it, after taking it for something like fifteen years. And it's served me pretty well on the whole. But when we tried to decrease it however long ago, I was struck by a few weeks of some of the deepest, darkest depression I've ever experienced. And I knew that was a potential side effect, I was watching for it, so I was incredibly fortunate in that I could locate it outside my natural thought processes and try to quarantine it. I told my family what was going on, and I just oozed back and forth between the sofa and the bed for a while--this after I went back up to the regular dose for my own safety. It didn't matter; side effects linger, and all I could do was ride it out. And I don't personally consider suicide to be an option, so I don't want to frighten anyone, but I think it's important to tell people that suicidal ideation is a potential side effect, and important to say that yeah, I was in a bad place, whether I keep the "magic door" locked or not. And that's another reason why the "Takiawase" recap was hard to finish--I just really dreaded having to write up the Bella Crawford scenes. Not because I was afraid the "death is a cure" train of logic would be contagious for me, per se--although I did worry about that for other people--but because I just really, really dread ending up in that "I just hope I don't wake up in the morning" place again.
Ironically, it was right in the middle of writing that recap that we decided to reduce the Zoloft; I made that decision knowing that it might be a pretty hellish experience... all over again. But the mania was getting to the point where it's hard to concentrate and therefore hard to write or work, and so the risk seems worth it; maybe my brain chemistry is different now, maybe what I need has changed. In seasonal terms, this is a pretty good time to try it--the increasing sunlight and general frequency of "up" episodes may be able to counteract any possible side-effect depression. So I want you guys to know that this is what I'm doing. And you know what? A week into it, it seems to be going pretty well. I'm still "up," but in a milder way; I'm less hot-tempered generally (which in turn helps my blood pressure) and I'm able to eat and sleep better. The reactive depression still might sneak up on me, so I'm trying to watch that very carefully.
So, as a side note, you need to know how things are going to work around here. We've started doing open discussion posts for the show, so people can talk about it as it airs in the U.S., but since I'm over on Twitter to help the ratings, I can't participate a whole lot or monitor/moderate the discussion all that well. But I try to keep up with it. Given that the most recent episodes have been a bit controversial, I'll tell you my approach to moderating preemptively so that we can move forward with clarity. Here's how it works--has always worked--around here:
1) If a thread gets contentious or unpleasant, I will tell people to ease up, drop it, or take it somewhere else. This is an "everyone walks away, no one gets hurt" warning. Sometimes I freeze a thread to save everyone from themselves. If it got really unpleasant, I might screen the thread entirely. I have never held this against anyone. While I try to give new commenters the benefit of the doubt, I tend to assume more good faith of long-time readers I recognize and cut them more slack, because if you've only recently wandered in, I don't know what your intentions are. I find that thought process to be a reasonable way to cope with my inability to read minds. That said, I have only rarely had to intervene at all, so you don't have to get nervous about this. This has always been my policy, and nothing has changed in that regard.
2) If you give me attitude or keep going after I have directly told you to drop it, I will tell you to knock it off. This is a genuine warning. Take it seriously.
3) If you argue that warning or give me further attitude, I will either tell you to cut it out one more time or I will ban you right there, depending on how badly it escalated.
4) Abusive comments are an automatic ban. This hasn't happened in a long time, though. I will discuss with anyone who can be civil, polite, and rational, but I'm not going to be sucked into rules-lawyering or passive-aggressive logic circles. If I ask you to stop for any reason and you don't, you get those 2-3 chances and then I'm done, because life is too short and my blood pressure is too high.
5) It's my journal. You don't have an absolute right to comment here. I am unmoved by arguments that telling people to express themselves in a civil fashion is unfair or mean or refusing to allow disagreement or infringing on your First Amendment Rights Omg. I am not the U.S. government, so I don't give a shit. Put it this way: if I don't want to deal with you, I explicitly tell you that I don't want to deal with you, and you insist that I deal with you, I will Deal With You. That said, I am RIDICULOUSLY PATIENT most of the time. If I think a commenter essentially means well and we can straighten this out, I will risk my blood pressure and give it a shot.
So on top of this basic policy, I may have to deal with a severe depressive episode (hopefully not; knock on wood) in the near future. Yeah, it's taking me longer than I'd like to finish things; I feel bad about that generally, and "why didn't you write this other thing instead" and "are you ever going to finish that other thing" and "I hope you finish it this century"-type comments are gonna hit a hot button for me, probably in part because they do hit a guilty nerve. Like, I admit that. And after ten years of people often treating me like a vending machine (THAT SLOT IS NOT FOR QUARTERS), yeah, it builds up, and it's gonna get to me beyond what seems like a reasonable proportion, and I try not to overreact to comments that are meant well; my apologies if I have. On the other hand, focusing on "do your best and it is what it is, fear is the mind-killer, keep on livin,' etc." means that I also feel calmer about falling behind than I usually do. I'm trying to give people extra benefit of the doubt to make up for my own sensitivity right now, but conversely, I need people to not test my patience, because that's a test you're gonna fail. I love y'all and feel that I have one of the best commenter sections on the whole wide internet, and I want to keep it pleasant for your sake as well as mine. We are currently doing fine; I just need you to help me out going forward, because I don't know where "forward" is going to take me.